Full Transcript for Part 1
Hey, welcome back!
After reading so many 500 page books lately. I decided to take a course on speed reading. And it worked, I can read 10 pages per minute now… but my comprehension plummeted.
I have often heard Christians mention they know that Peter was crucified upside down. But what they don’t seem to know is: how they know that. It’s not in the Bible.
The apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation when he was imprisoned on the Island of Patmos. He alone wasn’t martyred. All of the other apostles were. Christians often seem to know that too, but they don’t know how they know that, either.
Isn’t that peculiar? We know things, but we don't know why we know them. Certainly they were written down somewhere unless we're emulating the Greeks with their oral tradition. And if so, that means that we're relying on word of mouth and how accurate could that possibly be?
The other oddity is that we have a canonized Bible with a collection of books in it, but for the most part it would seem that church history stopped shortly after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Implying that two thousand years of silence have elapsed and God stopped working miracles. And for the God who is the same yesterday, today and forever, I find that strangely curious.
That implies that God caused the Jews to keep a historical record of his activity in the world, and either he forgot to require the same from the Christians, or it does exist and we simply weren't told about it. We don't seem to know where that history is or who wrote it down.
Except that we do! Some of us do! And you're about to become one of them, my friend (if you aren't already). If you stick with this study, you will become a member of an elite group of Christians who know their history as well as the Jews know theirs.
Meaning that the Jews can tell us about their prophet Moses who parted the Red Sea, about the walls of Jericho and Jonah and Ninevah. They can tell us these stories because they kept a history of God's providence while he worked with them. And yet how would the Christians respond to that? Certainly we would say, but that's our history, too. But if I were a Jew, I would challenge that statement. It would strike me as arrogant and presumptuous. I would say, "I know what God has done for the Jews, but what has God really done for you, Christian? Did God do anything for you? Anything of significance apart from the ascension of Jesus Christ? Which granted is a big deal, but what is the sign of the truth of your beliefs? Has he really done nothing with you for the last two thousand years? Is there anything of any value that he did after 70 AD? How do you explain two thousand years of silence?"
If I were a Jew I'd say: Christian, you are piling onto our religion. We have a Moses and a Joshua, we have a David and a Solomon. What do you have, Christian? you're glomming onto our history and you're calling it yours. You're using the miracles God did for us as proof your religion is true. But in two thousand years he's done nothing for you? This amazing God you say that you serve hasn't done anything? Even if it what you say is true, about grace and mercy and entering into heaven, all of your evidence is internal, it's circumstantial. Meaning that I only have your word to go by. No history, no altars, no feasts, no festivals. Just you saying that you invited Jesus into your heart and you believe he came. That wouldn't hold up in a court of law! And your book of Revelation implies that Judgement Day is coming, which means that your God values evidence. And it would seem that you have none. Do you have any evidence that your God is real or powerful? I mean, yes maybe he healed you, perhaps you had a great personal experience or revelation personally, but did he give you a promised land? Did he go before you and wipe out your enemies? Did he set you free from an oppressive Pharaoh? Tell me what did he do for you? How did he make himself known to the nations of the world through you, Christian? the way he did with us? And if not, why not?
Are we Christians expecting the Jews to keep our history, for us? Are we really that lazy and ungrateful? I mean, is that the problem? Did miracles happen and we just failed to write them down? Jews erected altars, they wrote histories and songs, passed traditions and stories down in every generation. They have feasts and holidays. While apparently the Christians were so grateful that we failed to take notice of God's miracles for the past two thousand years, and immortalize him in history. Meaning that our Bibles tell us to glorify God and apparently we didn't. Or we did and we became completely ignorant of our history. We have forgotten our past the way the Jews forgot theirs. Just as one day Hezekiah stumbled upon the book of the law in his temple, and he read it and he tore his clothes when he realized his nation had become ignorant of its contents. Just like that, I read the Eusebius' history of the church book and saw how atrociously off course the Christian religion has strayed.
If you'd like to know how you would respond to a Jew who made those observations and accusations, then this study is for you!
We do have a history, and there has been a valiant effort on the part of the devil and his agents to make us completely ignorant of it.
This is a big study, it's an important one. And so a certificate of achievement awaits you at the end, should you complete it, because it is that important! Christians should absolutely hold the Bible in high esteem. But we were commanded to glorify God and the way that we do that is to tell the world what he has done for us. And the only way that's possible is if we actually know what he did for us.
Do you know who Polycarp is? Ya should. He is one of our heroes of the faith. Like Shadrack, Meshak and Abednego he survived the fire. But it wasn't a furnace, he was being burned at the stake in a Colosseum. And after the fire started, the spectators saw him in appearance like silver and gold and they smelled a sweet smell even as a wall of fire encompassed him. And then a miracle occurred that extinguished the fire.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. We're gonna take this study in order and I'm gonna make it fun and interesting and revelatory and encouraging. With heavy emphasis on revelatory. And what you're gonna notice is that you're going to absorb this information like water to dehydrated man in the desert. You'll be surprised at how parched you discover you were and how refreshing this history is, when you begin receiving water from the well of life. And I'm gonna suggest that you listen to this series twice. Because like the Bible, each time you hear the message of the history of God, you will learn more. And it will nourish you.
What seems like a famine of God's activity over the past two thousand years, will spring to life in the form of a feast. I invite you to the marriage supper of the Christ, so pull your chair, don your napkin, grab your utensils and prepare to dig in. Because this is a hearty meal that will inspire you while it glorifies your God. By taking this study together, you will literally be eating in the presence of your enemies.
Father we boldly confess that our hearts are receptive and our minds are alert. And we give you thanks for this hearty meal of which we are about to partake. In Jesus' name.
Now for those of you who know your history extremely well, then you know the Bible was written in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. And that was a function of war. Meaning that the Jews were conquered by the Persians and then the Greeks changing their common language twice resulting in Scriptures written in three languages.
When Jesus was on the earth even though Israel had been conquered by the Romans, they still spoke Greek. If Jesus had come when the Jews still spoke Hebrew we wouldn't call him by his Greek name, which is Jesus Christ, we would be calling him by his Hebrew name which was Joshua Messiah. Or Yeshua Messiah would be closer to how they would have said it. And that's extremely important and I'll tell you why:
I would imagine that all of you who know your Bibles extremely well would say that you do recall seeing the words Joshua and Messiah in the Old Testament, but what you don't recall seeing the words Jesus Christ there. Knowing that Jesus Christ translates into Joshua Messiah means that when you read your Old Testament now you will see it differently. But thanks to Eusebius, I can push this even further. I can give you a much more startling revelation. Thanks to his book that we are studying together now I noticed something fascinating. That when he quoted Old Testament Scriptures he mentioned God and his Christ in the quotations. And that made me curious. My Bible doesn't say that anywhere in the Old Testament. So I looked up the references to his quote and in every version of the Bible available today, in the Old Testament, it says God and his anointed. At first, I became suspicious of Eusebius, but then I remembered that when Jesus was on the earth he quoted from the Septuagint version of the Bible which is a Greek. And so I sprang for a copy and confirmed that the Old Testament does in fact refer to the Christ repeatedly because in the Hebrew they would say Joshua Messiah, but in the Greek it would be Jesus Christ. And that's mind blowing because while modern day Christians would tell Jews that the Old Testament foreshadows and points to Jesus Christ. Using the Septuagint version of the Scriptures calls him by name. And so I call shenanigans. Because on the one hand while that fills me with confidence when talking to my Jewish friends, absolutely slam dunking the conversation that the Old Testament not only points to Jesus Christ, not only foreshadows him, but calls him by name. On the other hand: who decided to substitute the word anointed for the word Christ in the Old Testament? At least the ones that are available today...
If you Google the question: what does Christ mean? it will not say anointed. And if you Google: what does anointed mean? It will not say Christ. But if you Google does Christ mean anointed you will notice that it absolutely does.
Meaning that someone somewhere made the conscious decision to substitute the word anointed for the word Christ because they mean the same thing. And yet, there is this disconnect when you go searching and looking; that prevents you from making this realization. And I have a problem with that! Because our churches are failing to mention this. And it would be so much easier to witness to Jews and lead them to Christ if the book said what it used to say.
There is so much more I can tell you about the significance of the name Jesus Christ. Jesus or Joshua was the anointing for kings. And Christ was the anointing for Priests. And so when Saul and David were anointed as kings they were anointed as Joshuas in the Hebrew or Jesus in the Greek. And when priests were anointed as priests they were anointed as Messiah in the Hebrew and Christ in the Greek.
Meaning that when Jesus Christ came he was the fulfillment of the king and the priest. He didn't need the anointing because he was the owner of the name. And this reveals that God is outside of time and he saw this coming.
Ladies and Gentlemen I have so much more to tell you in this study, but we will take these things in order and I assure you the study is worth the price of admission.
I congratulate you, Christian for arriving at this moment in your life. Make no mistake! You are on the narrow path! And you will encounter, unfortunately, opposition. The devil doesn't want you to complete this study. He doesn't want you to learn this material, which is made clear by the fact that whenever we tell our religious friends that we are studying old documents, they freak out. Don't listen to that. Don't let people discourage you. You don't need people's approval. We should fear God and not man.
But getting back to what I said in the beginning:
I have often heard Christians mention they know that Peter was crucified upside down. And again, but what they don’t seem to know is: how they know that. It’s not in the Bible.
The reason we know that is because of Eusebius. He was the first bishop who saw the problem that I'm describing. Meaning he beat me to the issue by 1800 years. In or about the year 300 year AD he realized that there was a treasure trove of history being compiled by the apostles and their disciples and the bishops that gave sermons in the churches. However, he also noticed the disturbing trend in what he called spurious works, meaning heresies, lies and books of questionable origin. Books bearing the name of the apostles like John and Peter, but promoting false Christs. And so this man, this Christian man, assembled all the works of the best reputation in a history that he called, Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History.
The word Ecclesiastical is a mouthful and since it means church, going forward I'm just gonna say church.
I normally do book reviews, which means I take 8 hours of audio and condense it down into twenty minutes of the highlights. And that enables readers to decide whether or not the book is worth reading. But in this case, I'm making an exception. This is an important study and so I'm more likely to take 8 hours and turn it into 16. But even that is the equivalent of just one weekend of your time and it has the potential to change your life. But wait there's more! I'm going to take an old thing and make it new. My audio commentary is designed to breathe life into this very old study in such a way that it encourages you and brings you joy. You'll want to learn this material. In fact, odds are good that you'll like it so much that you will want to repeat the study. Meaning you'll come back for seconds and thirds, because this spiritual food is very good.
You don't even have to take notes! I have full transcripts of the text on my website. Just search for the lesson you like, and when you see the audio player, click on the button labeled full transcript. And when you go to the transcripts you'll notice that I've got links to all the everything I'm talking about. So if you hear me mention a book or an author that you want to learn more about, if I say something that sounds questionable and you want to investigate it, just goto the transcript, where you'll see the spelling of the names, the links, the name of their books, and you can ask me questions and follow the links to be instantly transported into the materials that you seek.
I would make the argument that it’s not only appropriate to study the historical accounts of the men and women mentioned in the Bible, but I bet you yearn to. Deep down in your very soul. You want to know more because you've had a taste, but you aren't full yet.
Imagine you could turn back the clock and read the sermons that came from pastors who had first or secondhand knowledge of Jesus? You can! Believe it or not you can! Because as it turns out that the men who delivered sermons two thousand years ago, they did the same thing we do today. They wrote them down! Very few gifted teachers don’t first sit down and write and practice their sermons that they’re about to deliver. It’s a pre-requisite for doing a good job!
The Bible was designed to convey to you in the smallest most compact form everything you must know. Everything you must know. But not necessarily everything it would be good to know. If God wrote a book of ten billion pages, no one would read it because the task would be far too daunting. He did us a favor making the Bible as small as it is. But that doesn’t mean there is no value in studying history. And the best part, is that Eusebius already did the work of sifting the wheat from the Chaff for us. He is revered as the father of Church History because of this tremendous undertaking. And we would do ourselves a disservice to ignore the revelations that abound in his history. He even addresses practical matters like, what happens when a woman gets saved and is married to a man who isn't? When is enough enough?
Eusebius' book is 450 pages and it's divided into five books. He is a talented writer. In his very first paragraph he opens with a very clear mission statement that explains what he was doing. I’ll just read it to you. He says,
“It is my purpose to record the succession of the holy apostles together with the times since our savior down to the present, to recount how many and important transactions are said to have occurred in church history.”
He continues writing, but that’s his mission statement.
The second paragraph is likely going to be a revelation for you. When you realize that everything handed down to us by our fathers is a pack of lies as Jeremiah 16:19 warns us. It says,
"O Lord, my strength and my stronghold,
my refuge in the day of trouble,
to you shall the nations come
from the ends of the earth and say:
'Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies,
worthless things in which there is no profit.' "
And this is the paragraph now that I was telling you is coming. He says:
“It is my intention also to describe the calamities that swiftly overwhelmed the whole Jewish nation in consequence of their plots against our Savior; how often, by what means, and in what times the word of God encountered the hostility of nations.”
Now I’ll ask you a question: did you know that Israel was re-enslaved by Pharaoh in Egypt as a result of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the martyrdom of his apostles?
Take a minute and drink that in. Because the first question it brings to mind is, “Wait a minute. You mean there were consequences for crucifying the son of God and nobody told me?”
Imagine how sinners will react when they discover that there are consequences for rejecting Jesus. How shocking?!?
And how poetic! Moses led the Jews out of Egypt into the wilderness to worship their God. And after they rejected their God, they ended up enslaved in Egypt again.
Consider the symbolism of that. The Bible says that after Christ set us free we are not take the yoke of slavery again. In other words: don’t go back to serving idols! Don’t return to Egypt! Don’t reject God!
If the people of the world knew how much of their history was kept from them, they would rise up in revolt by the afternoon!
Since it 'tis the Christmas season, it seems appropriate that we should spend the next month or two studying miracles. And so the purpose of this podcast was to kick off that series.
That's all folks! Have a brilliant week and y’all come back now, ya here?
Full Transcript for Part 2Hey... Welcome Back!
Today we are reviewing part 2 of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History of the Church.
Part 1 is a must-listen, so if you haven’t heard that one stop this one now, stop it now, stop it, stop. And check it out, okay?
Okay, for the rest of you, I would imagine anyone who listened to part 1 is aching to hear more news of the early church.
Part 1, which was my first podcast, covered Book 1 Chapter 1. It was primarily an introduction explaining his mission statement. Today we are deep diving into chapters 2 and 3. And after reviewing just these first three chapters it's going to be incredibly obvious why summarizing this book is totally inadequate. (this statement might confuse the listener -- reword so that is' clear the deep dive is adequate)
This is a fantastic book and it’s worthy of a deep dive.
I have good news and bad news. The good news is I am able to fill in the gaps in this study. Meaning if you read this book yourself without my help, you might not get the full significance of many of his statements. Because as I've stated repeatedly, I’ve studied many ancient documents.
However, The bad news is: I wish I knew more. His book is a little over my head from time to time. There are things where I think, "Wow, I'm gonna have to come back and read this again. After probably a ton of study.
Okay, so lets jump into it.
In the first half of Chapter 2, Eusebius goes to great lengths to establish that Jesus is God. Interestingly, nowhere in the Bible does it use that expression exactly, but it is implied everywhere and Eusebius clearly believed it was important to make that clear.
He focuses in on every Scripture in the old testament where Christ appeared to men like Abraham and Jacob who responded by bowing and worshipping. And since this behavior is reserved for God and him only, and they used it on Christ, Eusebius argues the Scriptures are clear: Christ is God. Now, I have heard these pre-sightings referred to as Christophenes. That’s when Jesus appeared as a man in advance of being born of a virgin. Eusebius also quotes from the New Testament; to prove that Jesus is God. He uses for example, the gospel of John he says, "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. And the word became flesh and dwelt among us."
So, who became flesh? Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the word, the word was God. All those three things now intersect and kind of prove effectively that Jesus is God.
After driving that message home, there is a subheading in chapter 2 where he explains why the gospel wasn't proclaimed before Christ came.
But he goes all the way back to the beginning. He points out that man started out divine, but disobeyed God and consequently fell exchanging his glory for our present condition. Thank you Adam and Eve!
And then Eusebius confirmed some of my suspicions; for example:
Adam and Eve sinned and sin entered the world. Man started out perfect and sin introduced imperfection. And so while evolution would claim that things get better and better, both the Bible and casual observation state emphatically that the truth is exactly the opposite. Sin makes everything worse and worse. Though Eusebius didn’t present DNA. Since he was after all living in 300 AD, he describes a very clear social decay.
Drawing upon my knowledge of other ancient documents I can tell you that one of the most common expressions I have ever seen is the comment that “in those days, men did what was right in their own eyes.” I see that a lot. And when I talk about in those days, I'm talking about the days before Moses. Over and over and over in ancient documents: in those days, men did what was right in their own eyes.
Translation: there was no law; no ten commandments. Though Cain was judged for killing Able, he did not break a commandment when he did so, because a commandment of that nature wasn't given yet. Those weren't introduced until Moses who was many many years later. And that is an important detail that Eusebius confirms in his writings. Prior to Moses there were only five commandments that I know of:
- Have dominion over the earth;
- Name all the animals;
- Multiply and replenish the earth;
- And do not partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;
- And have yourself and the children of your household circumcised.
Those are the only five that I know of, there might be a couple stragglers out there that I missed. But for the most part before Moses that was it! And most of those were easy particularly the one involving sex.
Now if your pastor tells you that ten commandments really did exist prior to Moses, challenge him. Show me where. Make him produce a single document to substantiate his claim. Because I have heard pastors say that and I no longer believe them. I have read many ancient documents that state otherwise. And I have never ever ever ran across one that would suggest the Israel or anyone else for that matter was held to the standard of the ten commandments prior to Moses and Mt. Sinai.
And this is made obvious by the institution of the priesthood and the yearly sacrifices that God required of Israel immediately after introducing said 10 Commandments. And that makes sense, right? The commandments are given at the same time that the tribe of Levi was then set apart as priests for the purpose of making sacrifices to cleanse Israel from the sins that would come as a direct result of breaking said 10 Commandments. Yes, we read of sacrifices prior to this, but nothing on this scale. At a minimum there was a yearly sacrifice and constant ones throughout the year as well.
So don’t be so trusting! Just because your pastor says it's so, that doesn’t make it so. Trust but verify, because I have had pastors misinform me on a range of subjects over the course of a decade. I prefer to think it’s because they're ignorant, but I’m beginning to wonder how stupid they could possibly be. Require them to produce proof and in so doing, you may open their eyes to the fact, that maybe they don’t know as much as they think do. Require them to produce proof. And check stuff yourself, too!
Getting back to what Eusebius was saying:
As a result of having no law, men behaved like cavemen. Therefore ironically, ironically after partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and becoming very smart. Man acted like cavemen because there was no law requiring them to treat each other well. Meaning they had knowledge, but they lacked sense because by seizing the apple they shortcut the learning process. You know, the one that produces experience. That process didn't happen.
So it was the law that ended caveman society, not man’s intellect. And in fact, it was the law that facilitated man's intellect, not the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Because history confirms that society produced a species of men who believed in the survival of the fittest. And this attitude is the behavior of savages.
Because of the law man stopped competing through strength and became wise. The introduction of the law triggered the creation of a study that we call philosophy. Now I’m not suggesting philosophy is good, only that prior to the law no one even knew the word. After the law, Men stopped beating their chests and became productive.
The law was so popular in fact that every culture in the known world adopted it. It lead to peace, productivity, wisdom and prosperity. But let me read you a direct quote from the text. This is an assessment of the conditions before the law. So before the law:
“Laws and justice, virtue and philosophy they knew not, not even in name. They wandered lawless through the desert like savage and fierce animals, destroying the intellectual faculty of man and exterminating the seeds of reason and culture of the human mind by the excesses of determined wickedness and by a total surrender of themselves to every species of iniquity.”
That was before the law. And it kind of sounds like the conditions in America, in our study. Meaning the American Indians. That was their conditions.
Isn't that interesting? This implies Eusebius is right. Since America was not part of the known world. And since the law was given to the known world through Moses. And they adopted the law. We need only to compare the two civilizations. The one with the law, and the one without. The one with the law had technology, justice, philosophy, the arts, architecture, buildings and commerce.
While the American continent peopled by Indians were described as savages. Who wiped their asses with leaves. Honey? Please pass the poison ivy...
They decided all matters based on the strength of the individual and the strength of the tribe. So that was before the law. This is what Eusebius says came after, and again in his words:
The law obtained celebrity and like a fragrant odor was spread among all men. By means of this law, the dispositions of men, even among the gentiles, were improved by legislators and philosophers everywhere, who softened their wild and savage ferocity so as to enjoy settled peace, friendship, and mutual intercourse.
After the world was prepared in this way. It was after that that Christ came at the commencement of the Roman empire.
Consider the implications of that. The law not only raised our awareness of sinful behavior so that we would discover it was wrong to kill, to steal, and commit adultery and the like. But this also increased the debt. Had the ten commandments never been given, Christ would have had a much lower debt to repay. And he would have had an easier standard to meet, but the world would be full of barbarian thugs that one might argue is unworthy of being saved. However, Jesus came almost 1400 years after the law was given and then he did something even crazier: he multiplied the law when he delivered the beatitudes. He raised the bar even higher before he paid our debt. He said, hating our brother is equal to murdering our brother, lusting after a woman is equal to sleeping with her. And so he threw our sin debt into the stratosphere by multiplying our obligation exponentially. That is an act of unparalleled confidence! He raised the stakes! Suggesting, he was proclaiming to the world I not only can meet the standard that you guys are complaining about, but I’ll see your standard of goodness and I’ll raise it 5,000 percent. And I'll still live up to it not only for me, but for all of you!
Think about the implications of that. He knew he was going to be sacrificed for our sins. And that sin is disobedience to God’s commandments. And instead of doing what the rest of us would, and coming earlier and repaying a much smaller debt. He came later and he made the debt much bigger and he still repaid it in on behalf of everyone! He held us responsible not just for actions, but also our thought life. Imagine how much that increased the debt! Our thought life! Wow!
Now I have elaborated on what Eusebius said because being a student of ancient writings I can clearly see that he implied a bunch of things that would go way over most people’s heads. So if you read his book and notice I’m covering things he say, that he didn’t mention, understand that it’s because he assumes everyone knows all this stuff. He didn't think he'd have to explain it.
So I added a ton of detail to what he said, in order to make sure that you understand the significance of what he meant. That covers chapter 2.
In chapter 3 he explains the significance of the name Jesus Christ. He explains that Christ is not only a name, but a title.
When I was a boy I would watch reruns of old westerns that were typically in black and white and you would see one rider on horseback being chased by another who would shout: “Stop in the name of the law!”
That was necessary since horses all looked the same and lawmen would often work in plain clothes. The only indication that they were lawmen was a tiny shiny star that said, “sheriff.”
However, we’ve come up with new ways to accomplish this same thing now.
Now police officers have cars that are clearly marked and unique from all the other cars. Those cars have lights and those lights demand our attention. The police officers wear uniforms and they look like pigs and smell like donuts.
They have titles some are sergeant, others are chief, and still others are Barney Fife.
And so what I’m explaining is that sometimes titles are shared. Meaning many people might go by the name chief or seargeant.
In chapter 3 Eusebius explains that the word Christ is a title. Meaning these men could yell things like stop in the name of the law. But they used the name of Christ. Each of these men obtained these titles at the hands of other men. There was a process and it was important that process be followed. But then Jesus came along and he started acting in the authority because for him it was his name. Meaning his power and authority wasn’t given to him by men, it was given to him by God. He owned the name. They were acting in his name. Not the other way around. What they didn’t understand is that since God is outside of time. He established a name, and they used it before it made sense. They didn't understand the significance of the name because Christ hadn't come yet. They were acting in his name before his arrival.
This is an important concept because it’s establishing a precedent that Jesus, like God, is outside of time. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins he died for everyone that came before him, he died for those who were currently here, and he died for those who were yet to come.
And when it comes to my sins he died for the ones in my past, the ones in my present, and the ones I will commit in my future. Because for him, all of my sins were in the future.
And so while my future sins may come as a shock to me and my friends. He saw them coming. 2,000 years ago when he paid for all of them in advance.
It’s worth mentioning that the man named Joshua who led the Jews into the promised land after Moses died, received the name Joshua, it was conferred on him. The title Joshua went to the man who represented the government. While the name Christ goes to the high priest. And so in Jesus Christ we have our government and we have our priest.
This is the one of the things I find fascinating: I know my Scriptures extremely well. Eusebius began quoting Scriptures that differ from what we have in our Bibles. So I looked them. First I’ll give you the quotes the way he stated them:
<I need to tell people where I'm going with this quotation because otherwise it's confusing. You try to remember the whole Scripture and make sense of it and this floods the mind with confusion>
He quoted Lamentations 4:20 this way: The breath before our face, Christ the Lord, was taken away in their destructions; of whom we said, under his shadow will we live among the nations.
Psalms 1:1-2 he quoted this way:
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ.
I looked up the Scriptures he quoted and noticed that in our Bibles we have the word anointed where, Eusebius is using the word Christ. This of course made me look up the definition of the word Christ to see if it means anointed. I found no evidence through that search that the word Christ means anointed. So I did the opposite: I searched to see if the word anointed means Christ. And again I got nothing. But then I thought, let me just be absolutely clear with this search and I typed does the word Christ mean anointed? And it turns out it does! And the thing that fascinates me most is that I recall being confused, while reading Scripture, about who God’s anointed are. I assumed it meant Christians, but these Scriptures make far more sense when I substitute the word Christ for the word anointed.
Now I’ll read you what I found in my search:
The word "Christ" means anointed. It comes from the Greek Χριστός, cristos, and is a translation of the Hebrew word for Messiah, ַמָשִׁיח, meshiyach, which means anointed or chosen one. Okay, now that same definition then qualified itself by citing a Scripture that links the words together. I’ll read it to you in John 1:41 which literally says this:
"He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah' (which translated means Christ),”
And so this is another example of the Bible implying that Jesus is God, but avoiding stating it outright. And I believe this is done either nefariously or for plausible deniability. One or the other. In the same way that in the book of John it says, in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we have this three noun structure and these three nouns are all one in the same. Which means:
God = word
word = Jesus, therefore
Jesus = God.
In that same way we have a similar thing going on here where:
Fix that to:
Christ = Messiah
Messiah = Anointed and therefore
Anointed = Christ
Unless it's being done for nefarious reasons. That's the only other possible option. And that option bothers me because it implies two things: It implies the Scriptures have been altered nefariously and we've been told they weren't. And ya know that's really just kind of unthinkable so I won't even go there.
So what this means is that going forward though, is when I read the word anointed in Scripture, I'm going to substitute the word Christ, and see if those Scriptures, don’t suddenly make far more sense. Because I notice the ones Eusebius quoted did make far more sense.
To be clear I’m making you aware of something that I view as a theory in progress. One that will potentially unlock mysteries. Because I know that sometimes the word anointed is used in other contexts, like to be anointed with oil or to be anointed as king. In that case the word is being used as a verb instead of a noun. In the same way we use the word Google as both a verb and a noun. Meaning Google is sometimes a place we go and other times it’s a thing we do. And so the word has different meanings in different contexts. A king would be anointed as a Joshua who handles the government, but never as a Christ who offers sacrifices and forgives sins. Who is effectively a priest. Therefore only whenever we see anointed used as a noun. Only then would the proper interpretation be to substitute the word Christ.
Now ironically, we see the seeds of the separation of powers in this design.
Meaning kings were always Joshua’s. And priests were always Christs, but apart from Jesus Christ, no man was meant to be the king and the priest. That’s simply too much power for any man to have.
And we see that history confirms this arrangement. Because when in a nations history has the political ruler also been the religious leader? We seem to inherently understand that's a conflict of interests and far too much power for any man to have.
As the expression goes: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I would imagine the only time we will ever see that apart from the second coming, is when the Anti-Christ rises to power. And so I recommend you be very weary of the first man who holds both offices.
Because Christ made it clear, his return will be obvious and unmistakable. And someone else is coming first.
That covers both chapter 2 and 3 of Eusebius' history of the church. And I would think that that causes you to think somewhat: this book is incredibly valuable. And the more I read, the more I wonder, why, why don't our churches tell us about this book. Because everything you just learned is of extreme importance and value. Anyway, that's all the time that we have for today.
Thank you for listening! And I hope you enjoyed this podcast enough to recommend it to one of your friends. It would seem that the world of book readers has shrunk and the only ones still reading are modern day geniuses. So have a brilliant week! And y’all come back now, ya here?
Full Transcript Part 3
Hey, welcome back! I thought I would share with you the definition of the word sleep:
It is a condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.
huh... I know some people who fit that description when they’re awake. Where was I going with that?
Revelation from Part 1:
Israel was re-enslaved by Pharaoh after the crucifixion of Jesus and the martyrdom of his apostles.
Revelation from Part 2:
Sin brought decay into the world: everything is getting worse (which is the opposite of evolution which says everything is getting better).
The Law introduced prosperity and blessing rather than a form of slavery. It ended caveman society. Jesus raised the stakes before he paid the debt.
And the noun anointed = Christ in Scripture. So replace anointed with Christ and see how it reads.
Jesus by the way is the anointing for Jewish kings while Christ is the anointing for priests. More on that later.
Okay, today I will be reviewing chapters 4 through 8 of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical history of the church.
Chapter 4 has the subheading: the religion announced by Christ among all nations was neither unexpected nor strange.
I don't consider this topic to be hugely important, but so that you know what’s in chapter 4, I’ll briefly make a few statements. Because it might be important to some of you:
In this chapter, Eusebius quoted Isaiah who was profoundly impacted by his prophetic revelation that suddenly all at once the earth would give birth to a new nation. It would transcend languages and borders it would be everywhere in the known world all at once, in the space of a single day. Effectively the earth would give birth and the nation would be called... Christianity. That’s in Isaiah 66:8.
He refers to the nation as indestructible and invincible, and by he I mean Eusebius, because it has as its support the power of God. And then he makes the case that the religion isn’t new, it's always been here. Though he didn’t quote the Scripture that says, "the first shall be last and the last shall be first," I couldn't help but think of it when I read his article.
He argues that anyone before Abraham was a Christian because they met with and worshipped Christ. This is referring to the Christophanies that I mentioned earlier, where Christ appeared in the flesh before he was born of a virgin. And so therefore, obviously anyone who worshipped Christ was a Christian. Then Abraham came along and the Jewish Nation was born, and that nation was marked by its circumcision.
They, meaning the Christians, didn’t regard circumcision or the Sabbath, or abstain from certain foods, or other injunctions of Moses that were types and symbols (of things to come).
Now I'll let you in on a little secret: I was about to question a conclusion Eusebius made, I’ll even share with you what I had planned to say: this is what I was going to say:
I don’t fully understand that and I’m not sure I entirely agree with it. While I love Eusebius, the case that he makes himself ignores the fact that in Genesis, God said we would be keeping the sabbath day holy forever. And so by his own reasoning, even the Christians would be required to observe the Sabbath. Because that command was delivered in Genesis 2.
That's what I was going to say. And so this is where you discover that I'm not only impartial, I'm also humble enough to confess I was wrong. I was planning to poke holes in his case and came to realize there weren’t any. Eusebius was exactly right and I will share a Scripture that states it plainly:
Exodus 31:16 says "The Israelites must keep the Sabbath, celebrating it as a lasting covenant for the generations to come. It is a sign between Me and the Israelites forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’”
And I did check that Genesis 2 Scripture that I thought indicated that the Sabbath was commanded to be observed forever and I realized I was wrong. However, this does make me question why Christ said the ordinance of the Sabbath was suspended while he was here, but I will remember that concern and wait for more information. Because I limit myself to inserting my foot in my mouth only once per day.
Now In some respects, the Jews observing such things are gifted with the distinction of not only writing the Holy Scriptures, but the prophecy inherent in observing those types and symbols. Meaning that because they observed them, it would keep prophecy front and center whether they remembered the prophecy or not. Likely because the Messiah was coming through their line. And that all computes. Eventually when the prophecy was fulfilled the Jews would receive confirmation in that they would connect the dots between their types and symbols and the fulfillment. There would be no point in having the types and symbols of Christ's coming in the Gentile line. Because Christ didn't come through the gentile line.
Eusebius concludes the chapter saying, “if the truth must be spoken, then Christianity was the first and only true religion.” Now those are his words, not mine, I'm just telling you what the book says. I believe I understand the case that Eusebius is making in this chapter, but while I don't view it as crucial it was interesting. However, I'm going to move on.
In Chapter 5 of his book he makes reference to famous events in order to pinpoint the date of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.
Specifically, it was the 42nd year of the reign of Augustus, but the 28th from the subjugation of Egypt and the death of Antony and Cleopatra.
It was the same year Quirinius governor of Syria, took his first census.
Now all of those events were mentioned so that if the date of Jesus' birth was forgotten we could pinpoint it again. Nowhere in the Bible is such information included making Eusebius’ book crucial.
It is in this chapter we learn the man named Luke who authored the gospel of Luke, also wrote the second book of the history of the Jewish War.
And so this is when we discover that not all extra-Biblical history is evil. It makes you wonder what other books Luke authored. And by the way, Eusebius refers to Josephus as a reputable historian by the Jews. Opening up a massive treasure trove of history just waiting to be explored.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Eusebius making reference to historical documents that have great reputation. So if you read this book, make a note of all the other books he mentioned and read them, too. And now we finish Chapter 5.
Before we review chapter 6, I have a loose end I should address: In a prior Eusebius podcast I mentioned that kings were anointed as Joshua and the government conferred on them. I failed to mention that Joshua is the Hebrew equivalent of the name, Jesus. Jesus is the Greek version. Meaning that after the Jews were conquered by the Greeks, kings would have been anointed as Jesus. This is also true of the anointing for priests who, by the way, were once called Messiah by the Jews and later Christ by the Greeks. Just as my name is Tom in English and Tomas in Spanish. Therefore the only man worthy to hold the office as both king and priest would be known as Joshua Messiah in the Jewish or the Hebrew and aka Jesus Christ in the Greek. Now it’s time to review Chapter 6:
Having tied up that loose end, it becomes apparent that Chapter 6 is hugely significant, because Eusebius illustrates that both the Jewish King who was anointed as Jesus and the Jewish priest who was anointed as Christ were taken away by the Romans. This would create massive anticipation by the Jews. Who would know there was a promise that no Jewish descendent would fail in the office of king or priest until the Messiah comes.
And since that had never happened before, and since prophecies always came to pass, and now with both offices open simultaneously, everyone was holding their breath. Either the Messiah was here or Sacred Scriptures got it wrong.
And consequently this would be the thing that would trigger Herod to order the slaughter of all Jewish newborn sons. Not the primary thing, but a contributor. Jesus wasn't a surprise, he was expected. And one might say he surprised the world, when he failed to meet its expectations.
Just as Pharaoh tried to kill Moses, Herod tried to kill Jesus. And he issued the execution order for all children in Bethlehem because everyone was expecting the Joshua Messiah who is the Jesus Christ. And Herod wanted to remain king.
Okay, Chapter 7. It's at this point that it becomes apparent, that not only is Eusebius gathering up all of the writings of his day and preserving them, he’s also putting them in order and addressing all of the criticisms that were popular.
In chapter 7 he says, hey, I have a few things to say about the discrepancy that is supposed to exist relating to the genealogy of Christ in the gospels.
This too, isn't a huge concern for me personally, but again so that you know what the book says: I will explain. There is a notation in the book of Matthew that Jacob begat Joseph, but in the book of Luke it says that Joseph was the son of Eli.
It was Jewish custom that if a man died before having a child his brother would marry his wife and have a child in his name. This was considered legal, but not natural. Legally Joseph was the son of Eli, but Jacob gave birth to him.
This custom was considered a type of resurrection. And so it shouldn't surprise us to see resurrection represented in the line of Christ. And so that explains the difference between the two accounts. And it makes Jesus Christ both the natural and legal heir to the Jewish throne.
In addition to all of those fulfillments of prophecy the book of Daniel pinpointed the arrival time of Jesus hundreds of years after Daniel was dead. And so as I’m sure you guessed, the time he identified was an exact match.
This Herod, was the son of a man abducted by a band of thieves when his dad was a boy and when ransomed back to his grandfather, his grandfather couldn’t pay. The thieves then raised Antipater, that was his name, as their own. And he had a son named Herod who was a real son of a bitch.
Because Herod wasn’t part of the royal Jewish line he burned the sacred Jewish genealogical records. He figured though the people of the day would know the truth, perhaps future generations not. They would be ignorant and he would have a more noble name as a result.
Eusebius then said that through a combination of responsible citizens recreated the genealogy and preserved documents that they kept away from Herod. Eusebius indicated that the exercise was part research and part memory though. Presumably because of the harmony described between the two separate accounts, in the gospel of Luke and Matthew, he believes the genealogy to be absolutely correct. And he notes that while Matthew said Jacob begat Joseph, Luke says Joseph was the son of Eli. And there's difference in wording. And the wording is everything. If Luke had said Eli begat Joseph, that would’ve been a problem.
In chapter 8, Herod learns from the Magi that the Christ was born in Bethlehem of the house of Judea at about the time expected because they had seen his star. You had to be expecting this, right? December 11th, we're coming up on Christmas. This is the Christmas story. Now it doesn't do that story justice, but it is where I'm going.
As Matthew 2: 1-2 Says Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
That should be our first clue that Jesus is God. Because in those same gospels where it says the magi came to worship, it says, "Worship the LORD your God and serve him only.’”
But I'll give you more clues:
In Matthew 14:33 the disciples worshipped Jesus and he didn't correct them. This was after the storm.
In John 20:28 after thrusting his hands in the side of Jesus Thomas answered and said, "My Lord and my God!"
Scripture is not obvious, but it is clear.
Now here is the million dollar question: did you know that Herod was rebuked by God for his attempt on the life of the Christ and for slaughtering the babies? No, of course you didn’t, because apparently our churches don't tell us that. Churches would have us believe there are consequences for rejecting Jesus. And suddenly we come to find out that the torment that is reserved for the next world actually came to this one for the sake of Herod.
Though Eusebius says he himself didn’t write a full account, he tells us Josephus did in the 17th book of antiquities.
Most of chapter 8 is worth reading. But allow me to summarize the death of Herod:
It says, "He was afflicted with a slow fire, people could feel the heat coming off of him. He had a lustful craving for food, swelling of the intestines, pain in the colon, swollen and soggy feet, a diseased ventricle, a corruption that produced worms in the lower part of the abdomen, violent loud labored breathing, he convulsed so hard and so often it resulted in muscle growth that made his convulsions even harder, his whole body itched so much they bathed him in oil. His eyes broke and turned up as if dead even though he was still alive and it was obvious that this condition was connected to his order to kill the children in Bethlehem to destroy the Christ because it hit so immediately. But that didn't stop Herod. No...
He went to great lengths searching for cures, including bathing in sulfur springs near Callirohoe and bathing in oil.
He returned to Jericho seized with despair and knowing the time of his death was near, he ordered that the distinguished men of every village in Judea be gathered in the Hippodrome and then called for his sister and her husband and told them that upon news of his death he wanted them to slaughter these men so that the Jews would not rejoice at his death, because he expected they would. He wanted to compel them to weep at his death, even if it was for someone else. Because he wanted people miserable on the anniversary of the day that he died.
That was by the way his third son to die, who he killed after killing two others and his wife.
Like I said hell came to him early and so it would seem that even his worms had worms.
And so let that be a lesson to you ladies and gentlemen be careful about rejecting the son of God especially in a violent way.
And so concludes our review of chapters 4-8 of the book of Eusebius Ecclesiastical history of the church.
I hope you're enjoying this study!
And as always: Thank you for listening! And have a brilliant week!
Y'all come back now, ya here?
Full Transcript Part 4
Hey, welcome back! I’m going to assume part 4 needs no introduction, however, if you feel you need one, then listen to parts 1 - 3.
Okay so In Chapter 9 it would seem that Eusebius’s sole purpose was to establish the idea that Jesus’ enemies were liars. This should be obvious since the devil is the father of lies. Christ's crucifixion was ordered on the basis of lies, and then other lies were engineered after his death and resurrection attempting to immediately disprove what everyone knew to be true. But Satan plays the long game, and like Herod who burned the sacred genealogies and later slaughtered the distinguished men of Judea in an attempt to get people crying on the anniversary of his own death, and later posterity to remember him as an equal with all of his predecessors. Like that, the devil engages his smear campaign early and often. Even though those in the early stages laugh and dismiss it. No one takes it seriously at the time, but the devil gambles that future generations won’t know the difference.
Chapter 10 indicates that Jesus was baptized by John when he was 30, that he began spreading his gospel immediately after that. And a couple things you’ll find interesting: Jesus’ ministry lasted less than 4 years. Therefore, those of you who receive Jesus in their 70’s or 80’s take heart, because just consider the impact Jesus had on the world in four years. And if you think about that that's true of Moses and other great men like him and David. David dwelling in caves for 20 years. Moses tending sheep for 40 years. A lot of time going by seeming like you're not accomplishing anything. Could actually be used to mold you inot the person God needs you to be before he uses you. It's not about quantity it's about quality. And it's not about you, it’s about God. Those are my words not Eusebius'.
Eusebius points out that Jesus was crucified when Caiaphas was high priest. And he began his ministry when Annas was high priest. And since we know that Annas was only high priest for one year as were each of the high priests up to and including Caiaphas, we can be certain that Jesus’ entire ministry was less than four years. Meaning he makes a statement and then supplies supporting evidence to prove its truth.
The only other noteworthy comment in chapter 10 was that he, Jesus, appointed the 12 and also the 70. And that it was the job of the 70 to precede him into each new area and spread the word that he was coming.
This is very consistent by the way with Scripture. First before Jesus is even born prophets are declaring that he's coming. Then Jesus comes and appoints disciples to go into each area and announce that he's coming. As I've said repeatedly God knows how to make an entrance.
In Chapter 11 we discover that shortly after Jesus was baptized by John, John was beheaded by Herod the younger. You probably know the story. Herod called his wife Herodias in to dance and in exchange for this dance he offered her anything she wanted and at the advice of her mother she demanded the head of John the baptist.
I'm sure this scene was inspired by the devil. Because in addition to baptizing, John was also preaching a compelling message and the people loved him; so much that Herod feared they would do anything he asked and even some things he didn’t... like revolting against the king for his death for example. So first Herod imprisoned John that was so that his influence would diminish over time. And then later he beheaded him after the influence waned.
A theme is developing in this series and the theme is this: Vengeance is God’s and he does repay. Eusebius makes the compelling case that whenever the kingdom of the devil attacks the kingdom of God, God throws them a proper beating. And I just don't hear that message proclaimed in our churches today. They fail to recognize that when the kingdom of the devil strikes, the kingdom of God strikes back.
The consistent message I hear implied by our churches today is that the devil or his servants strike, and God’s people rollover and take the beating. The emphasis implied then is that there are no consequences for lashing out against the kingdom of God. And no safety for those who are in it.
While some people struggle with selective hearing, it would seem that others struggle with selective history. I hear about the offenses against God, but I hear nothing about the consequences of those same offenses. Until of course I read this book.
The Bible says that the gates of hell will not prevail against God’s church. But what I don't hear in our churches today is offense followed by consequence. What that tells me is that the churches delivering this half-truth must not be God's church. To tell about the offense and leave out the consequence is an extremely subtle lie.
The message needs to be clear: if you're a Jew and you crucify Jesus, you get enslaved by Pharaoh in Egypt, that's what happens. And it's what happened. If you slaughter babies, God brings hell to you, like he did with Herod. If you behead John the Baptist you don’t get to be king anymore, your army is wiped out, and you live a miserable life in exile. By the way, the army that defeated Herod the younger was commanded by Herod’s father-in-law. That’s right, Herodias’ dad was so upset at Herod, that he attacked him because he brought shame to his daughter. That's pretty bad.
Chapter 12 lists all the names of the 70 that Eusebius could find. It was just a handful of names, but it was better than nothing.
Chapter 13 was unique because we discover in this chapter that a king sent a letter to Jesus asking to be healed. King Agbarus of Edessa (that's Edessa) revealed that he kept a watchful eye on Jesus and actually commented in his letter that he was concerned for Jesus' safety, and that Jesus was welcome to find peace in his kingdom. And that makes sense. Surely Jesus would have accumulated a few friends who feared for his life; influential people who would offer him safe haven. But Jesus replied, that he was called to do a work by the father, that he must complete. And that after he ascended into heaven, he would send a disciple to heal Agbarus and the people of his household. He wasn’t specific in the letter, about timing, and he didn't say he would be crucified. And it wasn't clear that he would resurrect himself before ascending into heaven. It was a short letter focused on replying to Agbarus thanking him and informing of the timing when he would be healed. It’s rather neat to read both letters and it's like a cold drink of water in a desert to read something written by the hand of Jesus.
The chapter remains with King Agbarus ultimately learning about the death and resurrection of Jesus and then later hearing about a man named Thaddeus who was one of the 70, who was in his provinces staying with one of his subjects named Tobias. And so he connected the dots and realized this man, the one working miracles was probably the disciple Jesus mentioned. And so he called him in. I get the impression that Thaddeus wasn’t so different from you and me in the sense that after he was called into King Agbarus, he went and when he heard the story he didn't say, “Yeah, I know because Jesus told me about this." But rather he said, "Oh, okay, well based on your letter and the fact that I’m here, I think you're right. So let’s do it." And he did, he healed Agbarus and his household just as Jesus had promised and after receiving this healing King Agbarus wanted to know more. He stated specifically what he wanted to know more, but Thaddeus said, “I won't answer your questions now, but I will answer them tomorrow after you assemble the whole town.” And then committed to answering not only everything Agbarus requested but more. And as I read the list, I thought, man would I love to hear the message that came straight from the mouth of Thaddeus. Because he was specific about certain things, I thought, I wonder what new things he might mention. Apparently he was a great speaker because we learn in a future chapter that Edessa was devoted to the name of Christ for over 300 years later. All the way up until Eusebius' day they were devoted followers. And that concludes all of book one of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical history of the church. It's a very large book. When I say a very large book a very large collection of books. And so we are only about a tenth of the way into the whole study.
The only way to cover everything would be to simply read you the text, but I don't think that would be interesting. I don't particularly love having things read to me. So there’s stuff I'm skipping that is interesting. Like the letter from Agbarus to Jesus and his reply back. But I'm not ruining so you can't read it for yourself and find treasures of your own.
However, if all you do is listen to these podcasts, you will be head and shoulders above most Christians. Knowing things that even people who have spent a lifetime in church, don't know
Okay, so it’s time for Book 2, this book focuses on the period of time after the ascension of Jesus Christ.
Since Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus that created a job opening one that was filled by Matthias who was chosen by lot. If memory serves I think Thadues was in the running for that job. But he ended remaining one of the 70. And you can find a list of the names of candidates in the book of Acts, by the way.
In this chapter we see the apostles taking the initiative to create the office of deacon and ordain men into it. Steven was a deacon and he was the first man to be martyred for the faith after Jesus Christ.
Eusebius commented that Steven was stoned to death by the murders of the Lord. This implies the decision makers were involved in his stoning.
James the son of Joseph and the brother of our Lord was unanimously made Bishop of Jerusalem. God imparted the gift of knowledge to James the Just and he shared it with the other apostles.
The gave him a surname, he was called James the Just and that's useful because there was another James. Both men were martyred. James the Just was thrown from a wing of the temple and then clubbed to death. Literally having had his brains beaten out with a club. While the other man was beheaded.
I’ll read you the quote he made about Saul of Tarsus who later became the apostle Paul. He said, “During this time, Paul also was yet laying waste the church, entering the houses of the believers, dragging away men and women and delivering them over to prison."
He makes an interesting statement about the man named Simon who wanted the power of God. He pretended to receive Jesus and was even baptized in order to gain this power and Eusebius commented that people continued to do this sort of thing for 300 years into his present day, and he views them as a special kind of wicked.
You may recall that Peter rebuked this man named Simon for his wickedness. And it turned out that he started a cult. So he truly was as wicked or more wicked than Peter suggested.
When referring to these people who pursue the power of God, I like the way he puts it, he says, “insinuating themselves into the church like a pestilential and leprous disease. Many of these indeed have already been expelled when they were caught in their wickedness.”
I'm curious why we don't see that today. We see people excommunicated for things like adultery and the casual everyday 10 commandment type sin violation, but why is there a noticeable absence of people being excommunicated for using the power of God in exchange for gain? Oh, I know! It's because them we call them, pastor. Instead of throwing them out, we put them in charge. God was very clear: freely you have been given so freely give. The gifts of God, the healings aren't meant to be purchased for a price. They were meant to be free.
Chapter 1 closes with the comment that Paul was chosen by God, handpicked by Jesus himself to be an apostle, not of men, like Matthias and everyone ordained after the 12.
Chapter 2 says that Pontius Pilate wrote a letter to Tiberius in which he commented that "since the death and resurrection of Jesus, the people are worshipping him like a God."
The reply from Tiberius was that no one should be ranked among the gods unless by a vote and decree of the Senate.
Tertullian wrote that unless a god pleases men, he is not made a god. I wasn’t sure if that was meant to be sarcastic, but I found it funny.
Chapter 3 mentions that the doctrine of the savior spread so quickly it was comparable to the way the sunlight fills the world.
Churches were rapidly abounding, the one in Antioch was churning out teachers faster than all the others. People once enslaved by superstition were now set free through the teaching and miracles of the disciples of Jesus Christ.
And it closes with a comment that seems (in)significant at the time, how a man named Agabus, was a prophet who warned of an impending famine. However, Paul and Barnabas took him seriously and prepared the people, which is obscurely noted in the Bible, and we find out later, this famine was a big deal.
We also discover that after the crucifixion of Christ, the people had a 40 year grace period before judgement. And after that is when this famine takes center stage, but we learn about that later.
However, I will remind you of some earlier comments I’ve made in this series. One comment I made was that the Bible having 66 books written by 40 different authors disturbs me. Partly because it should have 80 books and also because 40 historically is a terrible bad omen. Forty years wandering in the wilderness; 40 days and nights of rain flooding the earth. This 40 year grace period after Christ’s death on the cross followed by an extinction level famine event.
Now what do I mean by that? I’ll explain:
I find the poetry of what happened fascinating. Let’s step back and drink all of this in, shall we?
Eusebius tells us that the Christians preceded the Jews. He offers as proof the fact that people worshipped Christ before God made his covenant with Abraham.
This begs the question, what then is the difference? If that’s true, why were the Jews singled out? Why? Right?
The answer to that question should be obvious based on this study. Jews were singled out because the Christ was coming through their line. And that’s why they had all these signs and symbols built into their traditions. God wanted to make it abundantly clear that all of this was part of his plan. And so he used prophecy to declare, “I know the future. I planned this.” And so the Gentiles didn’t receive the same commands because God wasn’t making an entrance through their line. He was coming through the line of Abraham and David.
Thus if you become a Christian, it is unnecessary and even wrong to adopt Jewish traditions because the Christ has already come and it wasn’t through your line. Some of these promises just don’t apply to me and you. And adoption of Jewish traditions only creates confusion because Christ’s first coming didn’t happen through us. It never did and it never will.
And having clarified that, let’s go deeper:
Israel was delivered from Pharaoh, as you know, by Moses. And they wandered in the desert for 40 years. Why? Well because upon seeing the promised land they feared the inhabitants more than they feared God. So God consigned them to wandering in the desert until the entire generation of cowards died of natural causes.
Then they demanded a king and later they’re conquered by Greece and Rome. Then the Christ comes and they reject him. They shout “we have no king but Caesar! Crucify him!” And when warned by pilate that his blood will be on their hands, they agreed and call a curse down on themselves accepting that charge and applying it to their descendants also.
Christ is then crucified and he resurrects and suddenly Christianity is born overnight and it’s extremely popular. And then God then gives Israel a 40 year grace period to see the error of their ways and repent, and when they don’t what does he do next? Before re-enslaving them back in Egypt, the entire generation of people who crucified Jesus were wiped out through a series of disasters unlike any the earth has ever seen punctuated with a famine that should have shocked them out of their complacency and driven them to their knees. But in their stubbornness they died like dogs. Actually they died worse than dogs, revealing just how ignorant and stubborn people can be — but we’ll get to all of that soon enough.
There are two other things I submit for your consideration: I mentioned that Jesus Christ was an anointing, Kings anointed as Jesus; priests anointed as Christs. It should then not surprise you that when Jesus was tried he was brought before the kings and the priests: he was sent first to Annas and Caiaphas the high priests the Sanhedrin on the charge of blasphemy, which is a threat to the church. And he was sent to the kings: Pilate and Herod because he claimed to be the son of God, which is a threat to the government. Remember Israel and Judah were separate kingdoms, they each had a king. They were divided under Solomon’s son Rehoboam. So Pilate was the procurator of Judah and Herod was King of Israel.
You may also recall that when Jesus ascended he told the apostles he would send the Holy Spirit in his place. And that’s the first time the Holy Spirit played a big role in the lives of everyone. They Holy Spirit had always existed he was part of the trinity, and he came upon people individually prior to the ascention of Jesus, but after the ascention of Jesus suddenly the Holy Spirit was poured out. He was heavily involved. And guess what happened: The kingdom which was once divided two ways, suddenly was divided three.
You’ve heard of a monarchy, well thereafter Israel had a tetrarchy. After Herod died, he divided the kingdom among his three sons. And I’m sure that’s all just a coincidence which means nothing...
In chapter 4, Eusebius introduces Philo and commends him for his work as a historian.
You’ve probably heard of Caligula he was aka Caius. I think Caius would be the Greek and Caligula would be the Italian. He called himself a god and the people viewed him as mad. And he persecuted the Jews harshly making them miserable. At first he let them build temples, but then he forced them to build those temples to him.
Apion uttered many charges against the Jews and then Philo was prepared to defend them. He stood up for them.
The mistake Caligula made was he made the battle between himself and God.
But it’s at this point that Eusebius records the beginning of the persecutions of the Jews that came upon them because of their offenses against Jesus Christ. And Philo was a historian, one that's well respected. I just mentioned him a moment ago in preparing to be defending the Jews. And so his works are worth of our consideration.
Sejanus made every effort to destroy the entire nation of the Jews. So while the Jews hated Christ there were those who loved him and hated what the Jews had done. It makes sense that some would take it upon themselves to avenge his death. I'm not sure Sejanus falls into that category. But there certainly others were who were mentioned earlier in this study that I failed to note.
Caligula was described as excessively hostile to the Jews. And in his case it was because that’s the kind of guy he was. He wasn’t running to the aid of Christ. He was harsh with everyone, but he had a particular hatred for Jews.
He ultimately transformed all of the temples in the Jewish nation dedicating them to himself.
This is where it gets interesting. Remember the Jews cried out we have no king but Caesar? Well, Pilate was given orders by Tiberius and he erected statues of Caesar in their temples. This made them angry even though they brought it upon themselves. And claimed that's exactly what they wanted. And so be careful what you wish for you might get it.
Next the entire public treasury was used to build an aqueduct, instantly impoverishing the nation. The people were therefore sorely grieved by the decision. Pilate knew they wouldn’t receive the news well and so he sent soldiers among them in plain clothes with clubs and when the Jews began to object his soldiers threw them a beating. This caused a mass exodus that trampled many.
All of this was followed by the siege of Vespasian which overwhelmed them. In Eusebius' words.
Chapter 7 informs us that though Pilate washed his hands of the blood of Jesus he did not escape divine justice. Eusebius commented that he was forced to become his own murderer and the avenger of his own wickedness. And then he refers the reader to the Olympiads for more details. That's all he said on the matter.
Okay, ladies and gentlemen that concludes part 4 of the Eusebius church history.
I hope you are finding this interesting and useful and I also hope that it's creating an interest on your part. Not to just read the Bible. Certainly definitely do read the Bible! Make sure you read that and understand it extremely well before you wander off into these other document. But these other documents are worth our consideration. And they impact our perception of the world dramatically. So do not neglect to do your homework.
All right, that's all folks!
Have a brilliant week!
And y'all come back now, ya here?
Full Transcript Part 5
Hey, Welcome to part 5 of the Ecclesiastical History of the Church. I try to interject humor into every message, but today’s message involves a lot of death and destruction. It just seems awkward and wrong to spice that up with humor, so if nothing else, it should at least be interesting.
I just wanted to warn you of that going in.
I failed to mention that some of Eusebius’ chapters are really small. Take chapter 8 for example, it’s just one paragraph, some are just a sentence or two. In the case of chapter 8, it mentions the prophecy of Agabus about the famine that's about to came to pass. He doesn't give details here, he gives it in the future. And so we'll just jump into chapter 9.
In Chapter 9, Herod slew James the brother of John with the sword. The man who led him to the slaughter asked him for his forgiveness, because after hearing his testimony, he felt convicted for having turned James in. James did in fact forgive him and they died together. Seeing the death of James gave satisfaction to the Jews, Herod then planned to slay Peter also by putting him in prison, but those of you who know your Bible know that Peter was set free by an angel of the Lord.
And now to the matter of consequences: in chapter 10 we learn that Herod went to Caesarea, and dressed himself in silver robes that caused the rays of the sun to bounce off of him and he stood before the people in the tower of Strato. Where he gave a speech, and they applauded for him and flatterers called out that he was a god, and he failed to correct them. The Bible says the angel of the Lord immediately smote him and he died being eaten by worms. Eusebius adds to the Bible account that Herod saw the destroying angel sitting above him. And after being smote, he felt a pang through his heart and in his bowels and he told the people that fate would soon prove them wrong about him being a god, because he knew he was about to die.
Chapter 11 relates to the founding of a cult. A man named Theudas, I spell anything that I don't know how to pronounce, Theudas persuaded the people to take their possessions to the River Jordan under the pretense that he would part the sea and they could journey to a new land. Meanwhile, Fadus who replaced Pilate as procurator of Judea, sent an army after them slaying many and seizing their possessions. There is good news: it would seem that Theudas was needed back in Jerusalem, but there is bad news also: only his head made the journey. Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, once upon a time when you started a cult, there was a price to be paid, and so he was beheaded.
In Chapter 12, it was about this same time the famine took place, hence the desire to pack up and leave town. It turns out the people slaughtered by the army were the lucky ones. However, there was a woman named Queen Helen of Adiabeni who purchased grain from Egypt and distributed it to the needy. They made a statue of her commemorating her generosity. But the worst was yet to come. And I am gonna keep saying that because we don't quite make it to the famine in today's podcast. We get just short of it and the famine will be at the beginning of the next one.
In Chapter 13, we learn that the enemy of salvation used a man named Simon who bewitched many of the inhabitants of Rome into following him.
A writer named Justin addressed a message to Antonine that after Christ ascended men induced by demons claimed they were gods.
Justin complained that not only did these men escape persecution, but they were honored by Antonine. So his letter was a rebuke. He continued that Simon was among them, and they performed demonic magic. As a result Simon was considered a god and honored as such by Rome. This implies that unlike Jesus, they viewed Simon to be worthy of the endorsement from the Senate, revealing their politicians are as stupid as ours.
In the river Tiber on an island there is a statue of Simon with the inscription Simon Deo Sancto, which means “To Simon the Holy god.” Being a Samaritan man, nearly all of the Samaritans worshipped him. All of this is recorded in Justin’s book, who is by the way also called Iraneus, under the title, “the first book against heresies.”
Simon took the lead in all of the heresies and this caused some to return their superstitious idol worship. Apparently their cult was so base that Eusebius indicated that their language was so foul and their practices so wrong, that it was impossible to commit them to writing or even state them out loud. He did say every vile corruption devised was practiced by this cult. And apparently the females involved were overwhelmed by every kind of vice.
Chapter 14, the story of Simon continues. Eusebius that the wickedness of that malignant power constituted constituted Simon making him a great and powerful antagonist of our Savior and his apostles. But this flame kindled by the wicked one would soon be extinguished.
This chapter got me thinking. The way it’s written implies that while men fight with swords and weapons, it would seem the battle truly consists of words and proclamations. I’m not sure I fully understand this, but I get the impression that it’s only a matter of time before I do. And I think my lack of understanding is related to the fact that I have yet to truly use my words in this way and witness their effects.
It would seem the both Peter and Mark were reluctant to undertake the task of this writing, but the citizens persisted until they prevailed. And yes, as you guessed, this writing had a name and that name was the gospel according to Mark. Peter was delighted with the finished product and the men who persisted in seeking it. And soon the message was read in churches to the people. Clement wrote of these things in his sixth book of the Institutions.
And in 1 Peter 5:13 Peter referred to this situation and the city of Rome using
the name Babylon. Where he said, “the church at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you, as also my son Marcus.”
You might be interested to hear how that same Scripture is rendered in the English Standard Version of the Bible, it reads, “She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son.”
In some respects that's a little more clear. It says the church in Bablyon sends you greetings and so does Mark.
And so this gives us some context. Rome called for the gospel according to Mark to be written and though both Mark and Peter were reluctant to write anything, it would seem they both wrote something. Mark, wrote the gospel they demanded, and Peter wrote his epistle. And so perhaps next time you read both of those writings it will be enlightening to know that they were written in Rome, at a time after they pursued the enemy of God there, to refute his heresy. And at the request of people so enthralled by the message they demanded it be memorialized in writing. That may not be crucial information, but I think it’s interesting.
Next we turn to chapter 16 where we learn that in the beginning Mark was the first sent to Egypt to proclaim the gospel. He established churches at Alexandria. And so great a multitude were collected at the outset that Philo thought to mention it in his history.
In this chapter we discover that Philo knew Peter and met with him in Rome. Therefore, he not only knew about the apostles and their message, he knew the men themselves and approved of their work.
He said that like physicians, they healed and cured the minds of those who joined them. They renounced their property giving it up to their relatives laying aside all the cares of life and abandoned their cities taking up abode in fields and gardens, well knowing that committing themselves into the hands of strangers was not only unprofitable, but stupid. And there were many who imitated them and in particular in Alexandria, Egypt. Philo confirms this in his writings and they are also noted in the book of Acts. You may recall hearing about Ananias and Sapphira they lied about donating the full purchase price of their property to the church. This is the event Eusebius is describing in more detail in his history.
They only brought their reading materials into these room, which at the time was the law and the inspired declarations of the prophets.
They spent the whole day in a constant exercise: explaining the philosophy of their country in an allegorical manner. For they consider the verbal interpretation as signs indicative of a secret sense communicated in obscure intimations.
Eusebius is obviously a little smarter than I am. In my language that would mean they were writing parables.
They passed their time in meditation composing songs and hymns to God which were uncommonly serious. And it would seem that Philo wrote in detail about their practices in his works called, “On a contemplative Life” and “Those who lead a life in prayer.” Euseibius indicated he focused on only the more peculiar aspects of their behavior in his writing.
He later commented that philosophical exercises should be contemplated in the light, and the necessities of the body in the dark. Assigning one to the day and the other to the night.
He said some forgot to eat for three days while others forgot to eat for six. Instead desiring to feast only on the word of God. They disregarded the pleasures of the body.
He concludes this chapter with a statement that means nothing to me now, but I include it in case it means something to you:
They expound the sacred writings by obscure, allegorical, and figurative expressions AKA parables. For the whole law appears to these persons like an animal of which the literal expressions are the body, but the invisible sense that lies enveloped in the expressions, the soul. This sense was first pre-eminently studied by this sect, discerning as through a mirror of names, the admirable beauties of the thoughts reflected. They abstain from wine and taste no flesh. Water is their only drink and the relish of their bread, salt and hyssop. Okay...
Chapter 19 indicates that at a certain passover festival there was so great a sedition that 30,000 Jews were trampled to death by one another. The festival became a season of mourning and weeping. This occurred the year that Nero succeeded Felix.
That’s all he says in this chapter, but just consider the implication of this. These are my words now: You may recall that passover first occurred in Egypt. It gets it’s name because the angel of death passed over the people of Israel. Why did that occur? Because they slaughtered a lamb and covered their houses with it’s blood. But they didn’t cover the whole house, only the door of the house. So the door is symbolic of access to the house. And thus they painted the blood on the door trim on the outside. Now I’ve heard that somehow the method resulted in the painting of a cross, but unless and until I hear otherwise, I view that as wishful thinking. In the end there are more than enough symbols pointing to Jesus that's making it unnecessary to contrive a cross from the blood on the wood of the entry of the door.
So a lamb is slaughtered, the blood of the lamb applied to the entry of the home, and the angel of death passing through Egypt was forbidden entrance to the homes covered by the blood of the lamb, which they sacrificed for themselves. For those homes not covered, the angel of death entered and killed the firstborn son. And in that night Egypt weeped and wailing was heard all throughout Egypt. The Hebrews were saved by the blood of the lamb and happy as a result. And here after rejecting Jesus as their Lord and savior, at a passover festival, the Jews trampled each other resulting in 30,000 deaths and much weeping and wailing.
I just can't stand the irony of that event in light of all of the information. By applying the blood of Jesus, the lamb who was slaughtered for them, they were saved, and by rejecting the blood of Jesus, they themselves were slaughtered. I can't ignore the symmetry of those two things.
I will continue to warn you that there is a price for rejecting Jesus and it’s a hefty one. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by accepting Jesus. While rejecting him leads to death and trial on the merits of your own goodness. And good luck with that.
In Chapter 20 we are told that there was a confrontation between the chief priests and the regular ones and as well as the leaders of the people. So the chief priests on one side, regular priests and leaders on the other. This was very contentious, they argued very aggressively with stones in their hands. And there was no one attempting to resolve the situation diplomatically. Translation: they were throwing those stones also.
Eusebius says so great was the shamelessness of the high priests that they stole the tithes given to the priests. And this theft them destitute and so they starved as a result. This was vicious. And he says that the violence prevailed. Meaning that anyone who wasn't willing to steal and kill died hungry.
It would seem these were the days that gave birth to terrorism. Eusebius didn’t know to call it that, which is clear from the way he tried to describe it. He said, “there arose a certain species of robbers who at festivals kept a dagger concealed and plunged it into distinguished men and then were among the first to gasp and fret over their death in order to hide themselves amongst the crowd and keep themselves above suspicion. The alarm itself was worse then the crime because everyone was in expectation of death.
In Chapter 21 we learn about an Egyptian who masqueraded as a prophet. Eusebius described this event as worse than the terrorism they feared.
Apparently this Egyptian seduced 30,000, there’s that number again, into following him. His plan was one of rebellion, or witchcraft, where he plotted to seize a Roman garrison to take control of the government.
However Felix anticipated the move and met him with the Roman military. The Egyptian fled and most of his followers were either killed or captured. And we read about this by the way in Acts 21:38, when a Centurion questioned Paul accusing him of being the Egyptian who led away four thousand assassins into the desert. The guy who got away.
You may remember the story. Paul was preaching the gospel and some Jews from Asia stirred up the crowd against him. They hurled false accusations at him and he was taken into custody. But he begged to speak to the people. He began speaking in Hebrew, which hushed the crowd initially, because remember Greek was the language of the time. They listened quietly and intently as he spoke of his conversation with God until he told them he was sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. And then the crowd erupted in anger and called for his death.
If you don’t remember that part, you’ll probably remember the part where the Roman was about to flog him, and he asked the question: is it lawful to flog a Roman citizen. So that’s where we are in history right now.
Paul was sent as a prisoner to Rome twice. The first time, Luke was with him and the second time he was martyred. This is where he wrote his second epistle to Timothy where he indicated he was abandoned by everyone and on one occasion saved from the Lion’s mouth, but not this time, the lion would prevail. By the Lion by the way he was referring to Nero, who started out moderate and finished strong. He revealed his awareness in his epistle of his impending death when he said his departure was at hand.
Eusebius thinks Luke wrote the book of Acts at this time, continuing his history right down to the time he was with Paul.
In Chapter 23, Eusebius indicated that when Paul was sent to Rome after appealing to Caesar, the Jews were frustrated, because it would seem they had high hopes of murdering someone and so they needed a new target. For that, they chose James the brother of Jesus.
They approached James the Just and flattered him telling him how well respected he was and by the people and us. And they begged him to go to a public place and renounce Jesus before the people to put an end to all the foolishness.
James didn’t exactly agree or disagree, but rather he let them lead him to stand on top of the west wing of the temple. Making me wonder if there is any correlation to the West Wing TV show. But I digress... From part 4 of our podcast series, you know they pushed him off and since he wasn’t dead when he hit the ground, they clubbed him until they beat his brains out.
For some reason Eusebius decided to feed us this story in increments and so details started and kept coming and keeps coming. He stated that while on top of the temple, James endorsed Jesus Christ was the son of God and our Savior and Lord. And then he mentions Heggesippus in his fifth book of the Commentaries where he gave this full account, where Eusebius is about to summarize here.
It would seem he lived up to his name (the just): a razor had never come upon his head, he drank no wine, he was never anointed with oil and never used a bath. I don’t consider most of those things to be virtues by the way. But that's what it says.
He was in the habit of entering the temple alone and spent so much time on his knees interceding for the people that his knees became as hard as a camel’s.
I can’t explain this next comment I include it in case it makes sense to some of my listeners, but James was asked what was the door to Jesus? And he replied, he was the Savior.
Since all the tribes had come together to celebrate the passover, they encouraged him to speak from a conspicuous place for all to hear and declare that Jesus was not the Christ.
When he got up on the temple he cried out, “Why do ye ask me respecting Jesus the Son of Man? He is now sitting in the heavens, on the right hand of great Power, and is about to come on the clouds of heaven.’ To which some of the people cried out “Hosanna to the son of David,” causing the priests and the Pharisees to say to one another, Oops we messed up. “We have done badly in affording such testimony to Jesus, but let us go up and cast him down, that they may dread to believe in him.”
And then Eusebius quotes the prophecy in Isaiah that says, “Let us take away the just, because he is offensive to us; wherefore they shall eat the fruit of their doings.” Isaiah 3:10
After casting him down they stoned him, and since he did not die immediately, but instead turned and knelt and prayed for them. He said, “I entreat thee, O Lord God and Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
While they were stoning him one of the priests of Rechab said, “Cease what are you doing? Justus is Praying for you.” And then a fuller went forward and beat his brains out with a club. Fullers, by the way, used clubs to beat the clothing they were cleaning. And so he had one handy.
They buried him on the spot. Immediately afterwards Vespasian invaded and took Judea.
Josephus wrote, “These things happened to the Jews (which is the invasion) to avenge James the Just.”
After Festus died Albinus was made governor of Judea. He was of the sect of the Sadduccees, which Eusebius noted are unmerciful in the execution of judgement.
Eusebius concluded the chapter with a very concerning comment, which is that the book of James is attributed to the brother of Christ, but that that report is considered spurious, which literally means false or fake. Nevertheless, he says that, we know the book is publicly used in most of the churches.
So even though we don't think it really was written by James, the brother of Christ, as is advertised, the people seem to like it so we've kept it.
Chapter 24 is very short and reports only that Annianus was appointed first bishop of Alexandria after Mark.
I jumped a little ahead, let me come back to chapter 23. I first read this three or four years ago and since then I have discounted the book of James thinking it probably isn't really written by him and therefore I can't trust it. But honestly I have over the past few years drawn upon and drawn from that book of James. I can see it's value Obviously that's something, a personal decision for you to make for yourself. But I confess that book seems to be useful. Whether or not it is inspired and whether or not it was authored by James I don't know. But it is a good book. Anyway...
In Chapter 25 Nero takes on a more visible role. Eusebius reports that he began to take up arms against the one Supreme God. Many histories record the grossness of his extraordinary madness. He proceeded to murder indiscriminately not even refraining from his nearest and dearest friends and family. Murdering his mother and wife who he killed like strangers. He displayed himself an enemy of godliness, which was recorded by the Roman Tertullian, in that case I know that's how to say it, but some of these names are useful for looking up authors of books, as is this case. Tertullian who commented that Nero was the first to persecute the church doctrine.
Nero was an enemy of anything great and good. He publicly announced himself the chief enemy of God, and was led on in fury to murder the apostles. Paul was said to have been beheaded in Rome and Peter crucified under him. Their names remain in the cemetery even to this day.
According to a church historian named Caius, if you go to the Vatican, or to the Ostian road, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundation of the church. Meaning Peter and Paul who suffered martyrdom about the same time.
Chapter 26 is the last chapter in Book 2 and it’s a short one that provides accounts of more martyrdoms: “those who were of the first rank among the Jews were scourged with rods and nailed upon the cross at Jerusalem by Florus, procurator of Judea." The new Pilate in other words.
Josephus commented, that, “throughout all Syria a tremendous commotion seized upon the inhabitants, in consequence of the revolt of the Jews. Every where did the inhabitants of the cities destroy the Jews without mercy. So that you could see the cities filled with unburied corpses and the dead bodies of the aged mixed with children and naked women. The whole province was filled with indescribable distresses. But greater still than the crimes already endured, was the anticipation of those about to come.”
In Book 3. We're starting book three now, chapter 1:
we learn how the world was divided up amongst the apostles: Thomas received Parthia, Andrew Scythia, John who died at Ephasus received Asia, Peter preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bithnyia, Cappadocia, Rome, and Asia to the Jews scattered abroad.
Here we learn that Peter was crucified in Rome upside down. In this chapter 1.
Paul spread the gospel from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and he was martyred in Rome by Nero. This account was given by Origen in the third book of his exposition of Genesis.
Chapter 2 We learn that Linus presided over the church in Rome
In Chapter 3 Eusebius examines the authenticity of the Scriptures, where he has created three categories: Indisputably true, uncertain, and downright lies.
The 1st epistle of Peter is genuine, according to him, the second is uncertain but popular.
And in the category of downright lies are The Acts of the apostles according to Peter, the Preaching and Revelations of Peter. Those in other words are lies.
There are 14 epistles of Paul, they are all well known and genuine, though some dispute the book of Hebrews. There is another book called Pastor by Hermes which is false.
In chapter 4 we learn that Paul had innumerable fellow laborers whom he referred to as soldiers and he mentioned them by name at the end of his Epistles. Luke also mentioned his friends and helpers in his writings, and here we learn that Luke was a physician by trade. And Eusebius comments that Luke wrote not about things he heard, but about things he saw and experienced himself.
Chapter 5 second to last one here, describes the last siege of the Jews after Christ by Vespasian who became emperor and handed the war off to Titus. And here Eusebius commented that after the ascension of our savior, the Jews in addition to their wickedness against him, now incessantly plotted mischief against his apostles. First they slew Steven by stoning him, then beheaded James the brother of John, next they threw James off the temple and beat him to death, and they harassed all of the apostles with the intention of killing them.
It was at this point, that the whole body of the church in Jerusalem, after those three martyrdoms, received a divine revelation from God to leave the city in order to escape judgement. Therefore, they moved to a town called Pella.
Pella is about 30 miles away from the Dead Sea. So it’s not close, but if you’re fearing an invading army, my guess is you’d want to put the scrolls somewhere safe and somewhat undesirable. Again, this is just a guess, but it is a good one.
Eusebius comments that after they left, divine justice overtook the entire generation responsible for crucifying Jesus Christ, wiping the evildoers from the face of the earth. And now I’ll quote him because I don’t think I can state this better. Here we go:
The extreme misery to which particularly the inhabitants of Judea were reduced; the vast numbers of men, women, and children who fell by the sword, famine, and innumerable other forms of death; the numerous and great cities of Judea that were besieged; the great and incredible distresses that those experienced who took refuge at Jerusalem as to a place of perfect security; and then finally the abomination of desolation, according to the prophetic declaration, stood in the very temple of God, so celebrated of old and final destruction by fire all came; all this, I say, anyone who wishes may see accurately stated in the history written by Josephus.
300,000 who flocked from all parts of Judea to the passover were shut up in Jerusalem as a prison as an exhibition of divine justice. The only thing worthy of adding to this account is the description of the famine, which is yet to come.
I think that’s enough for today folks.
For those of you who are sticking with this study I congratulate you on your accomplishment! This is no small task!
We’re at page 71 in a book of 428 pages. And in Part 5, we cruised through 24 chapters if you can believe that.
As always, thank you for listening! And have a brilliant week!
Y'all come back now, ya here?
Full Transcript Part 6
Hey, Welcome to Part 6 of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History of the Church. I imagine some of you realize that what I’m saying is a little bit redundant. Meaning that since the word Ecclesiastical actually means church, I'm essentially saying, Welcome to part 6 of Eusebius’ Church History of the Church” which I grant you is a little absurd. I've been saying it that way because I dislike the idea of altering the title of the book. So going forward I'm going to start saying, "Welcome to Eusebius' church history". Cause it's short and clear.
It would seem that today is a day for confessions because I confess it feels strange to release such a serious podcast before Christmas. So if you're looking for an uplifting Christmas message this ain't it. I posted those a week ago because I figured it would give everyone a week to find and enjoy them, rather than posting a message most people would only care about for one day. So if you’re after a Christmas message today, look for the messages called, Christmas Miracle and the other one called the best Christmas Story You Have Ever Heard. And no I am not arrogant much.
For those of you who are following this deep study series, today is the message we’ve all been waiting for. I told you I would describe the famine in part 6 and it is the first thing we’ll discuss. But before we do, I want you to think about something while you listen. I want you to ask yourselves, “How would our country be different if our churches taught that there are not only real, but severe consequences for rejecting Jesus?” And in particular if they shared the message you’re about to hear today.
Please remember, that the people God judged are those directly involved in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. So while you might be tempted to feel sorry or them, I assure you they deserve it. Today’s podcast should reveal in fact just how stubborn these people were. They were so stubborn that after a forty year grace period and all of the calamities I described in part 5, and the famine I’m describing in this one, after all that, they still went to their graves dying like dogs because they refused to consider the question, “Is it possible I could have been wrong?”
Sadly people are exactly that stubborn and thus we require these story examples to derail us from our penchant for self destruction.
Now In addition to the people, who died in stubbornness refusing to consider they might be wrong, there were those who died knowing they were wrong. They knew who Christ was, and willfully decided to rebel against God, seeing the opportunity afforded by God suddenly being accessible and in the flesh. And so under the guise of righteousness, hiding under the cloak of holiness, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Scribes conspired together to kill the son of God. Knowing full well who he was. Jesus foretold their decision in the parable where he spoke of the men who decided to slay the son of the vineyard landowner to seize his inheritance. And those are the people he meant.
The Bible makes it clear that some of them knew damn well what they were doing and not only did they do it anyway. They recruited others to their cause.
And so the people dying are the generation of men and women who crucified our Lord, some died knowingly and others died in ignorance, but all of them died in their stubbornness. And so be warned: if you want your stubbornness you can keep it, but it may send you to hell. And since God doesn’t want to lose you, don’t expect that ride to be fun. God gives us every opportunity to change our mind and our destination. But the choice is yours. You may make all the decisions, but God does control the thermostat.
And so we begin chapter 6. In chapter 6 we learn details about the famine. And Eusebius begins as follows:
"It was dangerous for the more wealthy to remain. For under the pretext of desertion, a man was slain for his wealth. But the madness of the rioters increased with the famine, and misery was inflamed from day to day. Provisions were plainly nowhere to be had. Hence robbers burst into houses to search for food, and if they found any, they would scourge the owners as if they intended to withhold it; but if they found none, they tortured them as if it were concealng it. The bodies of the poor wretches were evidence whether they had food or not. Those sound in health, were supposed to have an abundance of food, but those skeletal they passed by: it seemed absurd to kill men who were soon likely to die, anyway.
Many secretly exchanged their property, their property, for a single measure of wheat, if they happened to be the more wealthy; they got a measure of barley.
Famine surpasses all other evils, but it destroys nothing so effectually as shame; for that which would otherwise demand some regard, is contemned in this. Thus wives tore food away from the mouths of their husbands, children from their parents, and what was most wretched of all, mothers from their infants.
The only people that flourished in the famine were the thieves who were so evil that they would burst into homes, that had become sepulchers and they would try their swords on the lifeless. If the person, sprang to life, they thrust them through, but upon encountering someone who was nearly dead who asked to be killed, them they left to die slowly.
Josephus said, “I cannot hesitate to declare what my feelings demand. I think that had the Romans lingered to proceed against these guilty wretches (speaking of the thieves), the city would either have been swallowed up by the opening earth, or overwhelmed with a flood, or like Sodom, been struck with the lightning. For it bore a much more impious race than those who once endured such visitations. Thus, by the madness of these wretches, the whole people perished."
The robbers searched for food among those who appeared to be dying, lest they were concealing it.
But the robbers themselves, with their mouths wide open for want of food, roved and straggled hither and thither, like mad dogs, beating the doors as if drunk; and for want of counsel, rushing two or three times an hour into the same houses.
Eusebius concluded this chapter with a story of cannibalism. This was considered to be the worst story of them all:
A woman who had recently moved into the area with goods and possessions was repeatedly robbed. As you can imagine, her abundance made her the obvious target and so she was quickly reduced to nothing apart from her and her child. And yet the robbers persisted day after day hour after hour breaking in to search for food.
And by the way, food, had taken on a new definition. Belts and shoes were considered food now, anything leather or wax like candles were boiled and eaten. This was a horrific existence reducing people to walking and crawling skeletons. Some dying others pretending to be dying just to be left alone.
This woman one day looked at her child and asked the question, “What kind of life am I saving you for? How can I bring you into this world with a hope to raise you or educate you and yet consign you to this existence?” And so she killed her baby. <re-record with pauses and slow down!>
She cooked and ate half her baby, anticipating the arrival of the thieves she covered the other half. When they came and smelled the food they demanded it and she revealed her half-eaten son and bade them eat, or leave her so she could finish. The thieves as base and cruel as they were, were so horrified by what she’d done that they left and she finished her child. <re-record with pauses and slow down!>
Now you might wonder why did she leave half? It's because she understood, she realized that they would smell the smell of food and not believing what she'd done. She needed to provide some evidence.
Word spread throughout Jerusalem and everyone was horrified not so much by what she’d done, but because they knew they, too were capable of it. They mourned as if they committed the sin themselves because for all intents and purposes, they had.
I once heard a pastor say the difference between a righteous man and a liar is four meals, the difference between a liar and a thief is eight and the difference between a thief and a murderer is twelve. We can quibble over the number of meals in question, but the next time you get it in your mind to talk about your goodness, understand that your goodness is a function of God’s grace in your life. The Bible says he won’t confront you with temptations you can’t handle and that is an act of mercy because if he did, there isn’t a soul in this world apart from Jesus Christ, who would not degenerate into something wicked and vile.
In an earlier podcast I commented that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. And so this dynamic actually goes both ways. Whether you are confronted by abject poverty and starvation, or by unlimited power and opportunity, the only thing that will keep civilization from tipping into the Abyss is God’s grace, mercy and his consequences. The consequences designed to keep us in check.
And so when I see people calling for an end to prayer in school, followed by school shootings and police zones; I’m not terribly surprised. Because you see action is followed by consequence. That's what we call: normal. You stick your finger into a light socket and you get shocked. So why then are you shocked when you call for an end to prayer in school and people die?
I see people indulging in the use of manipulation, trickery and lies and thus witchcraft. In other words, open rebellion against the God who loved them so much he died on the cross for them. The problem being they loved themselves so much they became murders.
I’ll share a quick parable with you. This is one of my own. Meaning I made it with God’s help. And what it does well is it illustrates that murder is often done slowly and in increments. And so here we go:
There once was a power hungry man who desperately wanted to be a hero. Having no qualities of particular significance he resolved to creating emergencies himself and then saving his victims. His love for himself was so great he refused to acknowledge the reality that one of his victims was his favorite. She desperately wanted a hero and he desperately wanted to be one. They became codependent and fed on each other. She sucked the life out of him, while he victimized and abused her, scaring her to death. Little did they know they were both bloodthirsty murderers sucking the life from each other... because little did they know. The problem was they both enjoyed the arrangement so, that they spiraled toward death together, whistling through the graveyard, digging their own graves, and lying down in them indulging in a sleep that grew longer each night until the will to wake was only just a dream.
Admittedly this parable is very specific. It describes a death spiral. And unless someone or something intervenes, the codependency becomes deadly. For the sake of momentary gratification, the two parties create and endure permanent permanent damage.
Being a parable it’s a warning and as you can imagine I know people who fit this description. So let me tell you a quick true story, now:
There was a woman dating a man for his money. Neither one of them was a prize. She wore him down over a period of a handful of years. She convinced him to take out an insurance policy on himself and shortly thereafter, using her winning personality she drove him to commit suicide. It was a tragedy because after literally nagging him to death and repeatedly skewering him in public humiliation, she finally got her wish, except that she didn’t. She couldn’t collect the money, because he had commit suicide. You would think that would have been obvious, but she was no rocket scientist. And her only regret was that she didn't paid for all that work.
Some people are monsters, whether they can see it themselves or not.
The man in the parable must stop manufacturing emergencies and the woman must stop looking to her abuser as her hero. Both should turn to God... Him for forgiveness and in repentance and her for salvation because he is her idol.
Getting back to the text:
Chapter seven is where we discover that those over seventeen were sent prisoners to labor in mines in Egypt and those under seventeen were sold as slaves. That might sound like it’s a lot of people, but over one million died in the famine alone. The rest were killed either because they were trampled, they were trying to leave Jerusalem with the Egyptian false prophet, or because of the robbers. The ones who went in and killed them for their food. Some died in the Colosseums at the hands of animals.
You may recall that Jesus wept because of Jerusalem and he said, “the days will come upon thee, and shall encompass thee around, and shall everywhere shut thee in, and they shall level thee and they children with the ground.” To be leveled with the ground is not only graphic it's specific.
When I was in Ethopia I often saw shadows in the road that were in the shape of horses. And that’s because when a horse dies on the road they leave it there and the cars then hit it drive it into the ground — until it's leveled with the ground and thereafter you only see a shadow of the former animal. So when Jesus says that Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the nations, now you know what that means.
Both Eusebius and Josephus commented that God gave Israel a forty year grace period, which is about half a lifetime, and when they failed to repent, the sword of divine justice unleashed his wrath for crucifying Jesus and martyring the apostles.
Before you started this series, most of my church going friends knew that the apostles were martyred, but I wonder how many knew the sword of divine justice cut the Jews down for doing it.
In Chapter 8, Eusebius turns back the clock somewhat to the time just before the extermination of the generation of Jews who crucified Jesus.
Ironically, he makes the comment that the Jews embraced false gods and false prophets as if struck with stupidity, while they rejected Christ and his apostles.
And sadly they viewed the omens of their destruction as signs of good tidings. At one time a star much in appearance like a sword stood above the holy city, and a comet was seen for a whole year.
During the feast of unleavened bread (which by the way, commemorated their exodus from Egypt) a great light shone around the altar and the temple so as to seem a bright day. This continued for 30 minutes and the people, believe it or not, thought that that was a good sign, imagine thinking that after what you had done. But the scribes understood it for it's significance. At that same festival a cow gave birth to a lamb and this happened when the priest slaughtered it for a sacrifice. The eastern gate opened all by itself, and that was a sight to behold because that gate is really really heavy.
Before the sunset chariots and armed troops were circling the city in the sky among the clouds. And they heard a confused voice that said, “Let us go hence.”
Jesus the son of Ananias began to cry out, “A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds. A voice against Jerusalem and the temple, a voice against bridegrooms and brides, a voice against all people.” Even after being seized and scourged he continued repeating that cry night and day. And even after being scourged to the bone he shed no tear and with every blow he said, “Alas, alas for Jerusalem.”
In chapter 9 we learn that for his exemplary work, Josephus was honored with a statue in Rome and a special place in the library for all twenty of his books on the Antiquities of the Jews and the history of the Jewish War that are in seven books.
In chapter 10 Eusebius returns to the matter of the authenticity of the books in the holy Scriptures. He says, There are 22 that embrace the record of all history and are justly considered divine compositions. Of them 5 are the five books of Moses, which covers a space of nearly 3,000 years by the way. The prophets cover the period of time from Moses to Artaxerxes of Persia in 13 books. And the remaining four books are hymns and praises to God and precepts for regulation of human life.
In the lapse of so many ages no one has dared to alter the Scriptures. It was implanted in the Jews from the origin of the nation to consider them the doctrines of God and die for them if necessary. This is again with regard to those 22 books.
Josephus accused Justus of Tiberias of not writing according to the truth. And said of his own writings, “I am not afraid respecting mine, but have presented them to the emperors themselves as the facts occurred almost under their very eyes.”
King Agrippa wrote sixty-two letters bearing testimony to their truth of Josephus' history.
In Chapter 11 Eusebius turns the clock back again, quite a bit this time. He says, the apostles choose Simeon, son of Cleophas as successor to James the Just over the church in Jerusalem. The decision was unanimous. So we’ve gone back to the time just after the third martyrdom of the apostles. Cleophas was by the way was the brother of Joseph making Simeon the cousin of Christ.
In Chapter 12 we discover that Vespasian declared war on the house of David. He sought to cut off the entire holy line, which triggered a violent persecution of the Jews.
In chapter 13 we learn that Vespasian was succeeded by his son Titus who was succeeded by his brother Domitian. That’s with regard to the emperors. And with regard to the church in Rome Linus was succeeded by Anancletus. And in just two chapters, which is chapter 15, we learn that Anancletus was succeeded by Clement.
In chapter 14 we learn that the first bishop of Alexandria after Mark, died and was replaced by Avilius.
And In chapters 15 and 16 we learn that Clement became bishop of Rome and wrote an epistle to the church of Corinth one that was both long and popular. Apparently there was a sedition in Corinth that is detailed by Hegesippus.
In Chapter 17 we find out that Domitian was abusive and was compared to Nero. He killed many of the noblemen of Rome punishing others with exile and confiscation of property. And he was especially considered successor to Nero in his hatred and hostility toward God.
Chapter 18 resolved some open questions I had about the man named John. According to the Bible, there was an apostle that Christ loved and I always wondered if it was the John who was imprisoned on the island of Patmos, the one who wrote the book of Revelation. Turns out it was.
And chapter 18 continues to tell us a little more about John. Justin who is also called Iraneas said in his history that if it were necessary to declare the name of the the Antichrist openly at the present time, then John, would have stated it in his book of Revelation.
And so this is where I’ll interject what I’ve learned from research into other historical documents. And again why I believe doing homework outside the Bible is not only desirable, but fascinating and in some cases vital. Eventually I'll do the review on these books and you will hear this for yourself:
But while Justin didn’t think it was necessary to state the antichrist's name openly, at the time that was two thousand years ago So I'm gonna tell you his name: it’s Nimrod, the man responsible for building the tower of Babel. That's right. That is exactly what I said. Nimrod the man who commisseioned the building of the tower of Babel. He goes by other names because you will recall that as a result of that incident the languages were confounded and so I know he has 70 different names, though I don't know them all. Nimrod is the Hebrew version of his name. Osiris was the Egyptian. He is part of the unholy trinity that has a woman at the top, her name is Semiramus in the Hebrew and in the Egyptian... Any guesses? Her name is Isis. Since it’s been a while since I’ve done the study I only remember a handful of their names. And the reason I remember the Egyptian ones is because in addition to an unholy trinity, I expect an unholy resurrection.
So I'm sharing a theory in progress that is an educated guess based on research. Remind yourself that the devil is called the great counterfeiter, which means he copies God. If God has a holy trinity, the devil has an unholy one. If God has a resurrection, he wants one also. Remember that the Egyptian magicians emulated the miracles performed by Moses. And that’s a useful clue. So when the Bible says the last days will be like the days of Noah, I believe that means that some of the same people who were here before will be back. Yeah...
Remember, Osiris had himself embalmed and mummified in a religious ceremony? And for those of you who follow my podcasts, you know that I’ve commented that the Bible says sin came into the world and makes things worse and worse, while evolution says things get better and better. Casual observation only confirms what the Bible says.
And so this is important because if the body of Osiris AKA Nimrod is resurrected, he will be many orders of magnitude stronger than modern day man. And this accounts for the interest that modern day science has in genetics. And it also explains how those heavy heavy heavy pyramids were built. They were built by men who were much stronger than we are.
Revelation makes the comment that in the last days men will seek death and not find it. And this implies that science solves the problem of death. Could it really be that much of a leap to restore someone who was once alive?
Since I’m wandering off the topic, I will end this digression by reminding you that in the book of Revelation John comments that the people will marvel at the Antichrist because he was, is not, and will be again. Meaning he was here and he died, and he's coming back. I’ll read you Revelation 17:8:
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was, is not and is to come.
I forget which historical documents gave me the basis for this theory, but since I'm re-reading everything I’ve ever read for this channel, at some point you’re gonna learn it, too.
So getting back to chapter 18 it ends with the comment that Flavia Domitilla the niece of Flavia Clemens was transported with others who professed Christ to the island of Pontia.
Chapter 19 makes an interesting comment. It says Judas was a descendant of David. And this was relevant because Domitian ordered the extermination of the holy line. However, it may have been referring to another Judas. Besides Judas Iscariot. It implies this Judas might have been the one who was the brother of Christ. Incidentally, a cursory Google search revealed that Christ did have a brother named Judas, but I will be looking for confirmations.
This does make me curious about Judas Iscariot. I've never looked into it before. It would be fascinating to discover he was the brother of Christ. But don't quote me on that because that's just... because I don't even consider that to be a good guess. I think that that's probably unlikely.
Right here is as good a place as any to stop for today.
Just by way of letting you know, though I will continue the deep study on this book, I will after Christmas, kickoff a new study one for valentines day. I thought I’d spent six weeks on it since love is so complicated.
Anyway, that’s all folks. As always thank you for listening! And y’all come back now, ya here?
Full Transcript Part 7
I have expanded distribution so welcome to our listeners from Spreaker, Stitcher and Google Playstore
I notice these Church History podcasts seem to be popular. It always pleases me when I see interest in specific podcasts. The Gita podcast is by far my most popular. I find that interesting. I thought the one on the Tao was better, but it is in second place. For those of you who've heard that Gita podcast, you might want to go back and re-watch the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom movie because you’ll recognize some names and themes and the show will make far more sense to you now. Though I confess it still creeps me out.
But let’s get to it shall we? Last time we left off in chapter 19 so today we begin with chapter 20:
The appearance of Christ alarmed Domitian as much as Herod. And so Domitian being emperor wanted the line of the house of David cut off. But let’s be honest. I’m sure that impulse came from the devil. At this time in history, Judas the brother of Christ, not to be confused with Judas Iscariot, had some grandchildren that Domitian wanted to kill. Domitian had the grandchildren of Judas brought before him and questioned them and they were clearly devoted to Christ. Which displeased Domitian, but he must have feared them because of their faith because he dismissed them. He ordered their persecution to cease and allowed them to live. Hegesippus wrote that they continued living to even to the times of Trajan.
Nerva succeeded Domitian and overturned many of his decisions which included restoring people to their lands and possessions and this should interest you because this edict was what set John free from the island of Patmos.
Chapter 21 - we find out that Cerdon became the 3rd Bishop Alexandria.
Chapter 22 - Ignatius became the 2nd Bishop of Antioch.
Before I forget, there was a great historian named Justin who was also called Iraneaus and there was a bad one also called Justin who was rebuked by Josephus. Please don’t confuse the two. I mentioned Josephus' distate for Justin in the prior podcast and I failed to ensure that you understood there was a distinction. There was a good Justin historian also goes by the name of Iraneaus. And in fact, I like the works of his that I've read.
Continuing with Chapter 23 we get a great story about the character of John the apostle that Christ loved. And I suppose based on this story, I can see his appeal.
He did something after he returned from Patmos to pick up where he left off before being banished there. To truly appreciate this story you need to know the history. What happened before he went to the island of Patmos? It would seem he met a man he took an interest in. He commissioned a bishop to educate this man in the faith. He was a young man and the bishop brought him to the brink of success, but didn’t carry him across the finish line.
Some evildoers decided to seduce this young man away from the faith corrupting him little by little until he not only joined them, he eventually led them. He renounced his faith in Jesus Christ as a result of this. And he made himself captain of this band of thieves and expanded and grew it. And he participated in all sorts of vile behavior including murder. Ultimately renouncing his faith in Christ.
After returning from Patmos John went to the Bishop looking for the young man and upon learning his fate, he tore his clothes and went searching for him. He allowed himself to be captured and taken by the band. And when he was presented to the captain, the captain ran away. As you can imagine years of imprisonment weren’t particularly kind to John, but he chased the man until he caught him. Calling out to him words of love and encouragement. And then when the man stopped and they stood together, he prayed for him and understanding that the man had renounced his faith in Christ, he encouraged him that Christ’s power to save was greater than he understood. I will intercede with Christ for you, he said. I will give my life for yours.
The man stopped and embraced John and was baptized a second time with his own tears. John didn’t leave the man until he was fully restored in the church. He fasted and prayed for him. And assured him that he had found pardon in Christ for his sins. Affording a powerful example of true repentance and a great evidence of regeneration and a trophy of visible resurrection, in the words of Eusebius.
Those are the high points of the story, but it is worth reading the original text yourself. Again that was chapter 23 in Book 3.
It would seem I finally have a word of praise for our churches. I have heard pastors comment that they wonder if the man Paul described in Scripture as having seen the third heaven might have been the apostle Paul himself. Meaning Paul spoke about a man and it turned out that the man he was speaking of, was himself. Eusebius confirms this and writes about it, matter of factly, as if it was common knowledge. And so we discover that Paul was the man who ascended into the third heaven.
Apparently John wrote the fourth gospel, which is the gospel of John, after reading the other three. And seeing that Christ’s early deeds were omitted, he felt compelled to commit them to writing.
The first three gospels primarily describe events after the imprisonment of John the Baptist. But John’s gospel focuses on the year prior, which he denotes with the comment, “John was not yet cast into prison.”
Also seeing that they didn’t clearly spell out the idea that Christ was God, he went to great lengths to ensure that that was made clear.
You might be surprised to learn that while John’s first epistle was accepted without dispute, the other two are disputed and the opinions on the book of Revelation were very much divided.
I’m not suggesting those books are incorrect, I’m just having the courtesy to tell you what our churches don’t, which is that not all the books in the Bible canon were unanimously accepted. I’ve started a spreadsheet that identifies the names of the books Eusebius references and his assessment of each. And I’ll post it when we’ve completed the review of his book for your convenience and review.
I want to make sure I wait to post it until it's comprehensive.
I’ll skip chapter 25 which details the names of many books and the status whether genuine, disputed, spurious or downright heretical. And I’ll also include the names of those books and authors in that same spreadsheet for further study. Because I can think of no better endorsement than from the man credited for being the father of church history. If he says they're good, then I believe him.
I personally like the book of Revelation, and frankly, I’m not complaining that there are too many holy books. If anything, there are too few. I would like to see the 14 books in the Catholic Bibles restored to the Protestant cannon. And Christians should be encouraged to read other historical accounts like the one we’re studying together now in this deep study, because it’s clear to me that the additional details strengthen my faith and encourage me to continue seeking and finding and learning.
That process has only been healthy and caused me to grow spiritually.
Chapter 26 talks about the imposters of the faith.
Menander succeeded Simon Magus and was described as an instrument of wickedness. He reveled in arrogant pretension to miracles. Declaring himself a savior sent from the invisible world that anyone deemed worthy who believed in him would be immortal.
Eusebius was incensed at the idea that these men called themselves Christians. And pretended to be holy and righteous. And I think that that behavior continues to this day.
In Chapter 27, it says the spirit of wickedness seduced the Ebionites. They considered Christ a plain and common man. And for them the observance of the law was absolutely necessary.
There were divisions in this sect where some believed Christ was born of a virgin, and others disputed it. But for those who acknowledged it, they didn’t believe in his preexistence. Suggesting it happened for no particular reason.
The common denominator in their faith was that they had no faith. Meaning they were dedicated to observing the law. Believing that they had to be good in order to get to heaven. And that getting to heaven was a function of their own goodness. Disbelieving that faith alone was enough for salvation. And again, it would seem that that was a common disposition even today.
The Hebrew word Ebionites literally means poor man. And I suspect that was not by accident.
In Chapter 28, Eusebius describes another false religion led by a man named Cerinthus.
He claimed to have the writings of a great apostle that contained revelations. It would seem that he counterfeited the book of Revelation and put the name John to it for his own version. It bears some similarities and some differences. For example:
He falsely pretended to have been shown things by angels. And promotes the idea that after the resurrection, Christ will rule on earth, men will inhabit Jerusalem and would still be subject to desires of the flesh and there would be a space of a thousand years for celebrating marriages.
And then it completely departs from John’s characterization into some wishful thinking that involves promiscuous behavior becoming holy and acceptable before the Lord.
It includes festivals and sacrifices and ritual murders, of all things! I guess it just depends on who you are as to whether or not those things sound good to you.
Apparently Caius warned about this heresy in detail in the Disputation. And Dionysus wrote about it in his book called the Promise. In any case, I submit it to you for your consideration. Apparently there was a counterfeit book of Revelation circulating.
Polycarp commented that the Apostle John once told him that he entered into a public bath and found Cerinthus there and so he promptly left warning others to do the same because God might cause the place to fall in. Referring to the fact that the enemy of truth was there.
And though this chapter doesn’t deal with it directly, there was a general consensus among the apostles that they should avoid contending with liars (debators). If the liar was rebuked once or twice by anyone and he knows what he is doing is wrong, but continues promoting those lies, believers should avoid him or her not attempting to debate them. Because they know that what they’re doing is wrong. You won’t convince them they’re wrong, they're doing it on purpose, they’re pretending to be sincere. Therefore, you can’t lead them to the truth because they hate the truth. These men are willfully disobedient not only to the rebukes of Christians but to the promptings of God which are persistent and constant in my experience. And so let this be a lesson to Christians: if you know someone, who you know knows what they should be doing. They don't need your rebuke. Your rebuke isn't going to help them. If they know the truth, if they know what they should be doing, then your rebuke is only going to trigger their rebellion gene. If you know someone young and they're having promiscuous sex, telling them that's a sin, isn't exactly news. And so it doesn't do a whole lot of good for you to be doing that. It would be better to pray for that person and let the holy spirit inform them that what they're doing is wrong. And in fact if you love that person, you will do far more to bring them back to the faith.
This whole line of conversation causes me to think about men like Bill Mahr. Bill has a show that has the all the appearances of fairness about it, but I understand what he’s doing. By loading the panel with likeminded individuals and then inviting one or two dissenting guests, he proceeds to skewer these guests over the coals in front of an audience for their entertainment. But he does it respectfully so he gets away with it. Meaning he has figured out how to throw a gladiator into the colloseum and make sport of him without ruffling his feathers to the extent that it actually looks bad. He compliments them for having the balls to come on his show and state their dissenting view. And so this resembles fairness while it sends the subliminal message to viewers that if they take this dissenting view, they too will be eaten alive. And it creates an irrational fear as a result. It also creates a subliminal perception that the dissenting view is the minority opinion which isn't true. And we tend to think of people who are in the minority as being wrong. When the truth is often the opposite. This is a tactic that Satan has used for a very long time and it's what convinces me that Bill Mahr knows exactly what he's doing. The idea being if you can get ten people who are likeminded to surround two people who have a dissenting view. The two people feel like they are in the minority and will more likely flip in order to placate the other ten. That is a deception and a rouse because those ten people are just ganging up mob style.
The guest doesn’t lose when they lose the battle with Bill. They might win the battle with Bill. They lose when they come on his show. Because Bill isn’t going to change his mind based on a winning argument. At best he’s going to congratulate them for having balls and being wrong in public. And this has the capacity to undermine their own thinking when they leave. They may continue to ponder this and actually change their mind later.
The moral to this story is do not feel obligated to enter debates to defend the truth. Because if your opponent is shrewd, his ability to win has nothing to do with his arguing skills, but rather with the magic show that he arranges. If he has the magical ability to win even when he loses, to load the audience with supporters, then you want no part in debating him. Because debates are most often not won, by the person who is right. But by the person who wants to win at all costs. The one who uses all of the tools at his disposal to convince the audience that he won even after he lost.
Which leads me to this question: do you know how you most often tell who won and who lost the debate? Whether you realize it or not, it’s by the way the candidates look after it’s over. If one is high fiving his buddies and smiling from ear to ear while the other hangs his head, exhales and runs off the stage, you will subliminally believe that the man with ignorant body language lost the debate, even if he was absolutely right and is only kicking himself because he could have done better.
I assure you debates are magic shows. And it’s unwise for Christians to try to win them because anyone who requires you to get up in front of an audience in a battle is not impartial or uneducated. They are likely agents of the devil empowered to represent him to the disillusionment of the audience. And this is all for show. Pride comes before a fall. Don’t be prideful, don’t get sucked into unwinnable battles with charletons. They will bus in supporters, and those supporters will booh when you’re right and cheer when he’s wrong. Because it was never about getting to the truth, it was always about winning. Evil people cheat. As hard as it is to believe... they do.
Okay enough of that: Chapter 29:
Chapter 29 describes another heresy involving Nicolaus. His followers were called Nicolaites. Clement of Alexandria wrote about his heresy in Stromata. And I’m going to refrain from commentary because the details of this story aren’t clear and I don’t really think it matters.
Chapter 30 goes into detail about the state of marriages with the apostles.
It would seem most of them were married. Eusebius commented that Peter’s wife was martyred before he was and he was delighted that she was worthy to die for the faith. He called out to her, “Oh thou, Remember the Lord!” I have mixed feelings on that one, but I'll move on.
In Chapter 31 we learn where people are buried:
Philip sleeps in Hierapolis along with the four prophetess daughters who were mentioned by Luke in the book of Acts.
And John the beloved rests at Ephesus.
Chapter 32 tells us that Simeon the 2nd bishop of Jerusalem died as a martyr and those who killed him were amazed by what he suffered. Particularly since he was 120 years old.
The early church was described as chaste and pure to the extent that the darkness was driven back by the light. The enemies of the church skulked around in dark retreats. But that changed after the sacred choir of apostles became extinct.
In Chapter 33 we learn that Plinius Secundis was moved by the number of martyrs and the reasons that they were put to death.
Their only crime being that they worshipped Jesus as God and woke early to sing hymns to him. He decreed that no search should be made for Christians henceforth. However, with no obvious reason to persecute them, there were partial persecutions.
In chapter 34 Euarestus became the fourth bishop of Rome.
In chapter 35 Justus became the third bishop of Jerusalem after Simeon. Now you may notice that Jerusalem got a lot of bishops because a lot of them were killed. It was just vicious.
If you had a time machine, then the last place you would want to visit was Jerusalem during the martyrdoms. Not even the bishops were safe, they died at two or three times the rate of all the other bishops. And you’ve already heard about the fighting and the famines and the prophetic warning to the believers in that city to leave it.
In chapter 36 Ignatius, who was Peter’s successor in Antioch, writes epistles to the churches in several regions exhorting them to hold fast to the faith and reject the heresies that were springing up everywhere. He encouraged the churches not to flee martyrdom. And he commented about his own conditions. He said, “From Syria to Rome I contend with wild beasts by land and by sea, by night and day being tied to ten leopards.” And he continues that line of thinking and everything he says is noteworthy if you’re interested. So chapter 36 might be worth grabbing and reading. Especially if you’re the kind of person who wants to be encouraged to be martyred by a man who embraced it.
Eusebius reported that he was cast as food to wild beasts on account of his testimony. So he got what he wanted.
In Chapter 37, Eusebius comments that Quadratus was distinguished for his prophetic gifts. He was alive at the time of Polycarp.
Most of the disciples distributed their substance to the needy and left their country. Meaning they went out into the world to preach the gospel. They proclaimed Christ and distributed the books of the holy gospels.
The Holy Spirit wrought many wonders through them so that the crowds eagerly embraced the true faith with their whole minds. That was chapter 37.
In Chapter 38 we learn that Ignatius in his epistles quoted liberally from the book of Hebrews, which you may recall was a disputed book. So this would appear to be an endorsement of this disputed book by a man eager to be martyred for the faith. Clement also quoted from Hebrews in his epistles from Rome to Corinth. He was universally accepted by all. And it’s noteworthy that Clement was a verbose writer back in his day. Expanding our library of worthy authors from the one we are reviewing to at least 10 worthy of further investigation. And so I mention these things because while Eusebius notes that the books were disputed. He also notes prominent men who quoted from them.
In Chapter 39 we learn of a man named Papias who traveled seeking secondhand accounts from anyone who had heard directly from the apostles and he wrote down what they said in five books.
As you may recall, I’m keeping a tally of these sources in concert with the books of the Bible and their status whether genuine or disputed. So a list of these books and resources will be available at the end of this study.
We learn from Papias that there are two tombs in Ephesasus containing men named John. One is John the beloved and the other is John the Presbyter, which means elder. Prior to this point all references made that I've ever stated were about John the beloved, the writer of Revelation and the gospel of John. I haven't said anything about John the Persbyter until just now.
In this chapter Mark was Peter’s interpreter, which would explain why Peter delivered the gospel message verbally and Mark was the one who wrote it down. So you might say that the gospel is a gospel predominately in Peter's words.
And that ladies and gentlemen takes us to the end of Book 3. We’ve covered 19 chapters in this podcast. We’re cruising through the writings now partly because he’s doing a lot more to make reference to writers and their histories, giving us samples of their writings so we can make educated decisions about what we might be interested in. So there's more referencing and more sampling and less detail in what he's writing right now.
And that's all folks!
Have a brilliant week and y'all come back now, ya here?
Full Transcript Part 8
Hey, welcome back!
Just a quick reminder about the live podcast event coming up on March 30th at 8:00 PM EST. Take a moment to pause the audio and update your calendars and phones. And if you want more information go to the announcements section of my website.
Today I will be reviewing Eusebius’ Church History Part 8. We’re in Book 4 and today we're gonna cover chapters 1-11.
￼The theme of the Jews being wiped out for their rejection of the Son of God continues as we learn about specific events that resulted in their destruction.
I explain the mechanics of how you can identify a wolf in sheeps clothing, which I anticipate will piss off some wolves and maybe even rattle a few sheep.
We discover that Carpocrates was the man who founded the gnostic faith, which Eusebius confirms is in fact a heresy. The gnostic faith is based on the magic arts of Simon the man that Peter rebuked publicly for wanting to purchase and sell the power of God.
But of most significance from our study today, is what I’m guessing is the true origin of Valentine’s Day. It is in fact, nefarious as I guessed. And while I don’t want to ruin your fun, I do want you to know the truth. Because the truth will set you free. And for those of you like me who have had nothing but bad experiences with that holiday, this might explain why. Being based on the work of a cult leader, and God describing himself as a jealous God, I suspect that he frowned on all my attempts to make the holiday work. I still have some homework yet to do to confirm my suspicions, but Eusebius was born in 263 AD and Valentine was born only forty years earlier, putting Eusebius in the perfect timeframe to know all about him and his beliefs. Particularly since Eusebius and Valentine were both said to be bishops in the Christian faith and Eusebius was engaged in the business of compiling the work of the bishops into the history that we are reviewing right now. So you don’t want to miss today’s podcast, it is a good one.
I will give you a spoiler alert: it would seem the founder of Valentines was a nefarious man who started one of the most popular cults that ever existed. Explaining why he was singled out and remembered for millenia and providing the last nail in the coffin for our holidays. It would seem we have almost no holidays of good reputation. Christmas, Easter, Halloween and Valentines Day having been examined and revealed for their pagan origins. Not by me in this case, but those reviews are coming.
But I would suggest, that rather than deciding to hate our holidays and end celebrations altogether, that instead of that, we celebrate them differently or make new ones. I am not a believer in being boring or ruining other people’s fun, but I am a believer in knowing the truth so I can avoid the mistakes that other people make. Meaning that while the world celebrates Valentines Day with exuberance and gaity, it also experiences record levels of divorce and misery. Suggesting you can’t honor and worship idols without paying for it later. Since I don’t want to exchange the truth for a lie. I prefer to dispense with the lies in order to avoid the pitfalls and traps they trigger. And so today’s study will end with a discussion of Valentine, who as it turns out, started his cult because he was rejected for the office of Bishop and so he was enraged. But we'll get to all of that at the end of today's podcast.
Now we can proceed with chapter 2.
In Chapter 2, according to Eusebius, something possessed the Jews in Egypt to rise up against the Greeks. I get the impression he really meant that by the way, meaning the idea that something possessed them. And the attack of course upset the emperor who attacked the Jews destroying many for doing this. And since the Jews in Egypt and Cyrene were making such a commotion, he anticipated that the Jews in Mesopotamia would also rise up, so he ordered a pre-emptive strike against them with the objective of clearing the province of them entirely. Resulting in an extermination or expulsion event. Generally speaking those who didn’t flee, didn’t live. The man who led the successful campaign was honored by becoming governor of Judea.
Chapter 3 — Identifies the emperors that you can find in the spreadsheet and it mentions two men who defended the faith to them: Quadratas and Aristides. Aristides wrote a defense of the faith that he addressed to Adrian the emperor, a document that persisted until Eusebius’ day.
Chapters 4 and 5 identify the bishops of Alexandria, Rome and Jerusalem which are in the spreadsheet.
Chapter 6 — Eusebius relays a story captured by Aristo of Pella: It would seem that Rufus the governor of Judea, launched an attack against the Jews justifying it because he said they were mad (in the crazy sense). He destroyed without mercy: men, women and children reducing the country to absolute subjection.
The Jews followed a man named Barchochebas who was a murderer and robber who pretended to do miracles. The rebels were driven to the last extreme by hunger and famine. Which is to say that's how they died. This was different than the famine I described earlier. This was a siege situation where the Jews had fled to a strong fortress in Bitthera. Where Eusebius says, the author of their madness, who was again Barchochebas, was brought to justice. This band of Jews was prohibited from ever setting foot in their country again so far removed, in fact that they could not even see it.
The city of the Jews was reduced to a state of total abandonment stripped of its ancient inhabitants and now populated by strangers. They changed its name to Aelia in honor of the emperor. And Eusebius later refers to Jerusalem again as Jerusalem, making me me guess that he rejected the new name even though he decided to mention it.
In chapter 7, Eusebius says that the faith of our Lord was spreading so as to embrace the whole human race. When through war, the devil failed to achieve his goals, he changed tactics. Instead of open battle, he engaged in subterfuge using wicked imposters who assumed the name Christian in order to seduce true believers away.
Although Eusebius doesn’t explain this, you may wonder how is this done? If they walk into a church and act like a true believer, how do these wicked servants of the devil seduce true believers away? Do they entice them to sin? Yeah, that’s one way they do it. But the more diabolical and easier way is sew doubt while they quote Scripture. To say things like the miracles ended when Jesus ascended, but the suffering continues! Which is a perversion of Scripture. Before Jesus left, he explained that the apostles would do greater miracles than he did. And he explained the signs that would accompany true believers. So even if you make a distinction between the apostles who died and the people who remain as true believers, Mark 16:17 tells you how to tell a true believer"
"These signs will accompany those who believe in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
None of the things he said, not one of them is common! It does not say, “they will obey the law better than their buddies do. They will rebuke sin wherever they see it. They will go to church every Sunday, they will quote Scripture. And they'll sing hymns better than anyone else in the choir. That's not what it says. It says: in his name they will cast out demons; speak in new tongues; pick up serpents with their hands; if they drink deadly poison they won't die it won't hurt them; and if they lay their hands on the sick, they will recover. These are significant things. Outstanding things in the sense that they stand out. And that's how you tell, according to Jesus, who I assume would know, that's how you tell the difference between a true believer and someone who isn't. And so if you are realizing that you don't do these things. Stick with these podcasts series because I explain all that stuff.
Because as 1 Corinthians 4:20 says, “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” That's how you tell when you are dealing with the kingdom of God. Not because they're talking and saying grand things. But because they're doing. Actions speak louder than words.
And so that’s the mechanics of what Eusebius describes in chapter 7. Since open war failed to accomplish his purpose, the devil resorted to deception. And his wicked servants enter into churches and they sew doubt because they know power is released through belief, that's how it's done. If you don't believe, you don't release power. And therefore doubt is one of the primary most significant useful weapons of the enemy. "Did God say that?" Maybe that's not what he meant...
Eusebius commented that a double-headed and double-tongued serpentine power, which by the way that's how he often refers to the devil. Not necessarily that specific sentence, but sentences like that. He'll often refer to the devil as that spirit, that malignant cancer. He doesn't really use the word cancer, but he describes cancer. And so whenever I say the word devil in these podcasts. I'm actually changing what he said from that malignant spirit, that hidden dark spirit, variations of that... he clearly doesn't like the devil, not a fan! Based on his description that he uses. And I'm just converting that from what he's saying into the word devil. And when I use the word devil I either mean devil specifically literally or I also could mean one of the agents of the devil. Because from my perspective they're a team, and if they're a team they act as one. Same thing.
Having said that, Eusebius commented that a double-headed and double-tongued serpentine power proceeded from Menander, who was the successor of Simon. Or in modern vernacular, he was a slimy, two-faced, snake. Saying one thing while doing another, snapping at people, intimidating, demanding they obey the law rebuking them for not being good enough. I ask you, do you know any Christians who act like that? Actually I ask you: do you know any Christians who don't act like that? I'm sorry, I've had some bad experiences. Contuing right along.
A Christian who places emphasis on perfection instead of mercy and grace, who promotes realism rather than belief in miracles and the power of God, is causing tremendous harm in my opinion. This can be a learned behavior, and it begins with wicked ministers of the devil who masquerade as angels of light. Having the appearance of godliness, but not being godly.
Eusebius continues he says, like Pythagorus, Menander commanded a silence on his followers for five years. Now I find that interesting especially being the podcaster teacher type that I am. I have observed that the devil's attacks on me often involve trying to get me to shut up. And here he's saying Menander, like Pythagorus commanded a silence on his followers for five years. That doesn't particularly surprise me based on what I've seen myself in my life. And it makes me wonder about monks who are swearing themselves to silence. I don't think that's a real good idea. While you can stick your foot in your mouth when you talk. I think we were created and expected to talk. Continuing right along:
A man named Carpocrates fathered the heresy of the gnostics who thought the secret magic arts of Simon should be made public. And it would seem that I, in this chapter, I stumbled onto a confirmation of a suspicion I had: it was confirmed by Eusebius and it was pertaining to an accusation that I made earlier in a podcast about witches and witchcraft, which is that at the heart of witchcraft there is always an exchange. I didn't actually read what he said in this chapter to you, but in this chapter he effectively explains the mechanics of this. Where he says the purpose of these exchanges is to take that witch from a state of decency to a state of indecency. In other words, dragging them along making them do worse more vile and corrupt things in order to get things.
In order to perform their witchcraft essentially and so this becomes the mechanism that takes a decent person and transforms them into a monster. And that is the goal. That's why the demons and the devil strike this bargain and this arrangement with the witch. They're trying to get the witch to do things and they'll egg that person on, putting them in a position where they want more. And luring them into doing horrible terrible things. And so in short what I'm saying is that witchcraft is not a good idea.
Eusebius then breaks a message into two chapters. He begins by commenting that Hegesippus and Justin were reputable historians and then he comments that they documented a communication that was sent by Serenius Granianus who was the proconsul. He sent this to Adrian, the emperor of Rome, saying Christians should not be put to death without trials. Apparently their deaths were the result of a popular outcry rather than of a ruling or judgement. And it says he commanded Adrian not to put them to death without a lawful accusation and indictment. Adrian then responds to that by writing a letter to Minucius Fundanus. And that's in keeping with Serenius’ recommendation.
And so in chapter 9 he translates the letter into Greek, which of course was translated into English for me.
Adrian essentially says, “Hey Minucius,” I received a letter from Serenius and it states the obvious. If someone brings an accusation you should examine it. The Christians deserve a trial. The punishment should fit the crime. And if they do deserve punishment see to it, that you inflict it, but make sure you investigate the accusation first and determine it to be true.
In chapter 10 we learn that Antonine the Pious succeeds Adrian as emperor.
And then we come to the final point. Chapter 11, this is the main event for today's podcast.
I stumbled on something fascinating here and I think it's the true origin of Valentines Day. I missed it twice. I didn't caught it until the third time I read that chapter. But before we go there...
During my Valentines Day study earlier I found hardly anything useful in the way of source materials. I commented in the podcast I used to kick it off that I was unsatisfied with my ability to locate the real ancient source writings. And so I viewed that message as a draft subject to change. And just so you know I view this podcast that way also. I am taking you along or the ride. I am including you in the process rather than waiting until I have a finished product. I am letting you know I am confessing that this is a work in progress. Now in that podcast I commented that if Valentine were really a bishop I would think we would have more of his writings and certainly enough information to provide lots of detail about him. Everything I found pointed back to the same text, which I viewed as very suspicious. Almost like propaganda. Because what you find with propaganda is a very short carefully worded message with very little detail. Because really good liars know that the more they talk the easier it is to prove that they’re lying. So they craft a very short concise message and they always deliver it the same way.
Imagine you’re a police interrogator and you call in four kids who are friends into your office and you say, "Okay, boys who killed the cat?" And all four of them say the same thing the same way with no deviation, every time they're asked. And in every way they're asked. What does that tell you? That’s interrogation 101. It means they rehearsed their story and they're lying. Even the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which are all telling the same story, do it very differently. The four accounts are complimentary so that when you add them together you get detail. And that's what happens when you're dealing with the truth. It adds fidelity to the message. The reason liars don't embellish the story is because if all four people embellish, it immediately becomes obvious that you're adding up information and it's culminating into a lie. Because those accounts are gonna conflict. For the record, I’m not trying to besmirch Valentines Day, and I’m not sure I yet know the full story. But I will tell you what I do know.
I know that in chapter 11 Eusebius describes a heresy he found in the writings of Justin Iranaus. It turns out Justin was the Bishop of Lyons, that is L-y-o-n-s. And he wrote five books dedicated to explaining the heresies of his day and exposing them as lies.
Now Eusebius was alive at about the same time St. Valentine was said to have existed, and so therefore I find chapter 11 to at least be an incredible coincidence.
The chapter opens with the statement, “Valentine came to Rome under Hyginus who was in his prime, under Pius, and he lived until the time of Anicetus.” And so those clues are gonna be helpful in pinpointing the timeframe of the Valentine man in question, which I'll check later.
But I have already done some homework. What I'm about to tell you now is me combining what Eusebius said with what Justin wrote in his history, because I went there and I checked it. Eusebius referenced Justin so I checked Justin's work and I added them together into this podcast for your good. I still consider what I'm about to tell you a draft though because I will confess I have never seen worse writing than Justins. It was difficult to pick through. Partly because it's old and partly because he's extremely wordy. It's painful. But, I’ll tell you what I think I have, so far:
It turns out that Valentine was upset because he was expecting to be made a bishop and was rejected. He was so angry that he abdicated his faith and started his own cult. He used a tactic that I've seen before which I call the chicken and the egg argument. The idea being he acknowledged the existence of God the Father and asked the question: who was God the Father’s mother? And he concluded that at the top of the chain there must be a hermaphrodite God. Which is essentially someone who has both sex organs.
I can’t yet say that I know this is the same Valentine, but the timing is perfect and the most prominent feature of his cult fits.
And I have to give this guy points for being unique. Usually with false religions you see lots of similarities to the real one. But in his case he made some huge adjustments. But he did remain true to the model. And I suppose that's what I'm going to stick with here. I'm gonna stick with the model. For example, he assumed the existence of a creator God, but he argued that God the Father who was the father of Jesus Christ, who is YAHWEH, he was not the creator of heaven and earth. Instead, he suggested that there was a more powerful hermaphrodite God/goddess higher up in the chain who created creation. Transforming Jesus from God the Son into a cousin great grandson relative of no particular significance.
Those are my words not his. And that’s obviously not what I really think. But I’m just being argumentative by making the problem that he created with his cult more obvious.
But what I'm about to tell you now is where I believe the origin of Valentine’s day comes in. Valentine connected baptism with being born again. Christ said that we must be born again in order to enter heaven. And then he was baptized by John the Baptist as you know. Presumably then Valentine therefore concluded he should combine the two ordinances together into kind of an object lesson demonstration if you will.
And so this Valentine, this cult leader that Justin Iranaeus and Eusebius wrote about, modified marriage and the wedding celebration in order to incorporate baptism.
What they did is they constructed a public bridal chamber where the husband and wife conducted the initiation, which presumably implies they had sex publicly before witnesses. Potentially conceiving a child in that act symbolic of a new birth. And then they went to the water to perform the baptism. The prayer was usually offered in a foreign language so the husband and wife didn’t know what was really being said. And it was a creepy sort of prayer that I don’t feel compelled to repeat. But I got the impression it was a prayer to the devil. There were variations to it, one of which was addressed to the secret God.
And so let me read some of the actual text, because I confess I made some guesses about the implication of the words they used:
Eusebius said “Some of them” referring to the followers of the heresy. Some of them prepare a nuptual bed and perform the mystery of initiation. I repeat the mystery of initiation on a nuptual bed... This they say is a spiritual marriage that has taken place with them bearing form and resemblance to the marriages above.
Now Eusebius strikes me as a respectful humble church bishop writer sort, and since I rarely ever see him write anything inappropriate, I believe he’s implying as loudly as he ever would that the couple got it on.
The implication of all this is that regular marriages were created by men and spiritual marriages were created by God. And therefore Valentine was now cornering the market on the spiritual marriages because he was now performing spiritual marriages among men. Implying that a marriage conducted by Valentine was superior in every way to average marriages. And so you could see how this would become popular. Particularly in a day without TV. Presumably a Valentine wedding meant you could actually watch the people have sex, no pressure... And the couple themselves would feel like they had a superior bond because it was of a spiritual nature and I’m guessing because it was a real crowd pleaser.
Now sometimes in addition to this public sex marriage ceremony, it seems a baptism ceremony would then follow. And Valentine would then speak in a foreign language and conduct them to the water speaking a strange prayer. Instead of I baptize you in the name of the father, son and holy spirit. Instead of that, he spoke to the unknown father of the universe and prayed to the mother of all. And since the common language of the day was Greek, and he said these things in Hebrew people had no idea what was being said.
And I don’t mean to be a buzz kill with all of this, but most of our holidays are based on pagan rituals as you can see through a simple Google search. And so it would not surprise me if Valentine’s Day is also a pagan holiday. And it would also explain why that day seems to be cursed from my perspective. I have never had a good one. And while I’m sure others have, I have observed that sometimes when God wants to get my attention he does this sort of thing to me. The fact that I've never had a good one draws my attention to it. And it made me curious and suspicious culminating in this search and therefore this discovery. That's how he works with me. I thought there was something wrong with it. And I found something potentially wrong with it.
And as I said, I can’t yet prove this is the same Valentine connected to the Holiday, but I will continue checking. And I will lean in this general direction because it looks rather obvious.
Even though I was looking for information about Valentines Day particularly for this podcast and the upcoming holiday. I still had to read this same chapter three times before I realized I even found it. It’s vague, it’s short, it’s easy to blow right passed it, which I almost did. After a while all these old names and the old language style starts to blend. Your mind kind of numbs over. It’s easy to miss the obvious when you read an expression like the mystery of initiation. That’s not something I’ve ever said to a girl at a bar before.
Hey, would you like to come back to my nuptual bed so we can perform the mystery of initiation and then maybe we can get baptized.
If there was any doubt in your mind before I said that, then when I put it that way, it kind of becomes obvious what's being said, doesn't it?
And yet when you read that in the chapter you can just blow right passed it and never even notice it. And so I'm kind of explaining why I don't think other people found this. I needed the coincidence of seeing a pagan marriage ritual attached to a man named Valentine after reading the story of Saint Valentine just a month ago to have any hope of even noticing in a book of this nature. And thankfully I didn’t miss it again.
The chapter ends where Eusebius comments that Justin, who was a fan of Plato, preached the truth of God from the perspective of a philosopher and flourished in his ministry. He mentions that because it was Justin who he was quoting about this Valentine Day heresy.
And so that concludes chapter 11, which for the most part concludes our study, but I'll wrap it up with this comment. With a comment to the men:
This Valentines Day season when your wife or girlfriend watches movies about men sacrificing themselves to save their wives or girlfriends. Who die that she might live... And then she looks over at you sitting on the couch stuffing your mouth with Cheetos, drinking beer from the bottle you wedged between the couch cushions.
When she reminds you of the romance inherent in every relationship in the world except yours and hers. After you finish chewing. You can impress her with your intelligence by saying, "Well, actually the Book Matrix says the guy who started this holiday was a cult leader. He wanted to be bishop and when he was refused he became angry and he created a nuptual bed out in the woods where he threw orgies, married couples who had sex in public, prayed to the devil in a foreign language and submerged them in water... or something to that affect."
And now having changed the nature of the contrast character between you, your Cheeto loving self, and the ultimate male lover who died on the altar of love maybe this holiday will go a little smoother for you... Or maybe you should just keep this to yourself.
And so as always: thank you for listening! It would seem that the world of book readers has shrunk and that the only ones still reading are modern day geniuses so have a brilliant week! And y'all come back now, ya here?
Full Transcript Part 9
Today I will be reviewing Eusebius’ Church History Part 9. We’re in Book 4 and today we cover chapters 12-20.
I’m guessing some of you might be thinking, this is a great book that we’re studying together. And it absolutely is, but make no mistake, I am taking an old thing and making it new. Meaning if you were to compare the text of this book to my podcasts you would think, “Huh. While I can see Tom is faithfully representing the text, he’s also making it more interesting.”
And I imagine some of my listeners might be thinking, really? Could it possibly be more boring than these podcasts Tom is making? Oh, yes, my friends! You have no idea!... It is my hope that these podcasts are inspiring you to read the same ancient texts that I am, but you will do yourself a big favor, by making the study as interesting as possible for yourself when you do it. And that’s true of many things ancient. It was a different time and place and frame of mind and so making it interesting requires spice.”
And there will be plenty of that in today’s podcast because I will be sharing an excerpt from one of my books. However, the prim and proper Christians, the intellectual stoics, I should warn you, you might want to skip this podcast, or plan in advance to forgive me because I’m going to need it.
My listeners told me they appreciated the preview I did last week, telling you what we were about to review before doing so. And as they say, “Ask and you shall receive.” And so here is a preview of today's session:
There is some great stuff in today’s podcast:
It opens with chapter 12 of Eusebius’ book, and in the spirit of taking liberties and adding spice, I open with an outrageous illustration. I do this respectfully even if it is in bad taste, my goal being to make the study of history as fun for the common man as it is for the intellectual historian stoic scholar types. Because if it were more fun more people would be doing it.
Today’s study is all about Justin the philosopher, we are given the opportunity to peer into his life and get a sense for who he is as a person. He was a bishop historian who focused on identifying the popular heresies of the day and arguing his opponents, the heretics themselves, into submission. He had a passionate fire for proving them wrong that led to his martyrdom. And in a stroke of cruel irony we discover that one of the men who debated Justin feared death so much that he murdered Justin in order to save himself. Meaning that because he kept losing so many battles he worried the people would turn and stone him to death. And so he went for the jugular and ultimately got Justin killed in order to save himself. Meaning it was his cowardice that drove him to do the thing that he feared more than anything else in the world. And so transformed himself into the Grimm Reaper in order to save himself from the Grimm Reaper. Sadly that happens more often than it should.
If I could read the mind of Justin’s murderer I would not be surprised to stumble across a justification: that killing Justin would send him to heaven. But if he were to die he wouldn’t be so sure. And that’s obvious based on his actions, because he would not have been so fearful of death and so anxious to kill Justin if he wasn't concerned about his final destination so much.
And so having said that let’s dive in:
We are told in chapter 12 about a letter from Justin to the emperor Antoninus and you may recall from our last study, I am not a fan of Justin’s writing style. I am grateful he invested all that time and research he did, and for the content he created, and if Eusebius said he was a convincing debator I will take him at his word, but it is my hope to only ever read the writings of Justin once, taking excellent notes and then never reading them again.
I feel bad saying this even though he’s long dead, but chapter 12 is the perfect example of what I mean. It is one very long paragraph, and it is simply the introduction of the letter he wrote to Antoninus the emperor. So while I myself would write “Dear Antoninus” and then get on with my business, it would seem Justin has a knack for taking two words and making them sixty. All for the purpose of essentially saying, “Dear Antoninus.”
You know what, I’m going to share this with you. I want you to know what I’m saving you from. I’ll read his introduction so you can see for yourself, here we go:
“To the emperor Titus Aelius Adrian Antoninus Pius Caesar Augustus, and to Onesimus his son the philosopher, and to Lucius the natural son of Caesar the philosopher, and the adopted son of Pius, a votary of learning; also, to the sacred senate and the whole Roman people, in behalf of those who of all nations are now unjustly hated and aspersed; I, Justin, the son of Priscus, the grandson of Bacchius of Flavia, the new city of Palestine, Syria, being one of their number, present this volume and address.”
Wow. Did we miss any relatives? I mean we got the adopted son of Pius in there, were there any foster kids? A neighbor perhaps?
By reading his introduction to his letter it should be obvious to you that Justin has a flare for the dramatic. While I on the other hand, am predisposed to prefer the comedic.
And so when I knock Justin's writing, I'm just poking fun. He was a great man deserving of our respect and admiration for the glorious labor that he performed in God's kingdom for his people. We should be grateful to him! And so therefore with respect to what I'm about to say. By poking so much fun, it's just a reflection of me not him. He was a great man. I'm choosing to tease because I imagine he's big enough to take it. And I expect he will be grateful that after so many millenia someone took an interest in his work with the intention of breathing life back into it. And so perhaps my unconventional will succeed where conventional methods have failed in the past.
And after all we are all part of the body of Christ and it is natural for the body to groan and argue amongst itself. Having different opinions and approaches to the same problems. There’s nothing wrong with the parts of the body experiencing a little internal conflict.
And so yes ladies and gentlemen Sheilas and Blokes, I am about to share with you the illustration I promised you in the introduction.
I really shouldn’t, this illustration is completely wrong, but I’m going to do it anyway...
And for the record, I am in no way implying that Justin is one of the body parts I’m about to mention. And for the record, again, I wrote this illustration long before I ran across Justin and for a completely different purpose altogether.
It comes from the Battle for Your Body, which I have in draft, here we go:
The day I fasted I found myself in a small battle. I observed that my body wanted food, and I denied all those requests. My stomach was at odds with my mind. They were both working as designed: my stomach was growling and my mind was reasoning. However, my heart had a question it wanted the answer to. My heart worried that my stomach would reason with my mind, and my mind would agree with my stomach making it two against one.
My stomach is the drama queen of my body. It shouts out things like, "I will die! You must feed me! You gotta do it now!" It writes a list of pros and cons and marches over to my brain and says, "Look! On the left are the bad things that will happen if you refuse to eat, and the right side are the good that will happen if you do!" Admittedly the list is a one-sided argument disguised as objectivity, but my stomach fights dirty.
Then my brain looks at the list and turns to the heart and says, "Ya know the stomach makes some good points with this list here. You should consider it. Besides, I think a brownie would do us all some good."
My heart then responds to my brain, "Are you kidding? Do you know how long we have all wanted answers from God? Every day you whine for explanations. You need these things to make sense, blah, blah, blah... I keep hearing this from you! You are driving the rest of us crazy! Every day we listen to you belly ache..."
"Hey!" The stomach interjects.
"Sorry, that was insensitive," the heart responds. And then he turns to the brain and continues, "Every day I must listen to you complain! You aren't sure what our next move should be because of the questions that have been plaguing us. You do not understand... you wish you understood what to do. So I suggested a fast and three hours later you catch a little gas from stomach and already you want to quit!"
My brain turns to my stomach and says, "stomach, the heart sounds..."
But my stomach is in impatient and interjects, "What is it, make fun of the stomach day? Belly ache, and gas — really heart?"
"Now, hold on stomach, wait your turn," the brain says. "You can tell the heart is serious about getting answers to these questions — can't you? I acknowledge you have a list, but the heart, is making us have an emergency. Perhaps if you calm down..."
"Calm down? Calm down? Do you know happens when the body goes without food for long periods? Organs shut down! Look, I am reasonable, I can negotiate: Ice Cream is more of a liquid than food really. Tell hand to shovel Ice Cream into face and mouth not to swallow until after it melts. Presto-change-oh, it is a liquid and everybody wins!"
"Stomach, I do not think you are taking heart's petition seriously. The heart is upset. He hasn't made us fast for a long time and he's been patient probably waiting too long..."
"Oh don't go breakin' my heart," the stomach responds. "I've got gas to deal with and when I get through, expect a phone call from nose."
"Not the nose!" the brain responds.
"I was tryin' to be reasonable," the stomach responds.
Then my brain looks at the heart who has his arms folded and is tapping his foot, and so brain thinks better of it and tells stomach, "All right, fine! Do your worst, it is only one day,"
The heart interjects, "I do not know if do your worst was the right response to give stomach."
Brain holds up a hand and says, "I do not want to hear it, heart. I hate being in the middle. You guys are making me feel like asshole.”
Spine interrupts, "I've got an incoming message for you, brain. It's urgent."
"Who is it from?"
"It's from asshole. Apparently ear told him what was going on and he wants to hear how he got dragged into this conversation."
Brain says, "Not him, too! This day is spiraling! Don't give me any crap, asshole!... What, Spine? Is there more?"
"Yeah. It's asshole again. He is asking if someone upset stomach, apparently he says he is getting a rash a shit."
Brain turns back to heart and says, "You heard stomach: he intends to create a gas problem, and you know how nose gets when he's out of joint. Soon he'll stop inhaling and mouth will have to get involved. That means I'll be lockin' the door and I want no one knocking unless it is an emergency!... What, Spine!?!"
"Are you going to respond to asshole?" Spine asks.
"Why?" Spine asks
"Because he's an asshole."
"But I don't know what to say!" Spine objects.
"Oh, grow a backbone!"
That happened all day and I thought about it. I find it interesting that heart gets such a bad wrap when it's the brain that can't seem to make up its mind.
Now I'm guessing you can relate to that illustration. And I think we get the impression when we read things in the Bible like we all are part of the body of Christ. I think we get the impression that means we're all supposed to be in total agreement. And that's not exactly the case. We're all supposed to be combining together and working for the same cause, and though we do it differently, that doesn't make it wrong.
All right that was a huge digression. And it was really truly just for your amusement in a study in a very long book. We are 150 pages into a 450 page book. If I didn't make it interesting you wouldn't stick with it. I hope that helped.
So we don’t learn of the contents in the letter in chapter 12, we just learn of the introduction in chapter 12. Because I suspect, Eusebius, probably for the same reasons I've already outlined, probably didn't want to include such a lengthy letter especially since in chapter chapter 13 we see the letter that Justin inspired. The letter the emperor sent to Asia. Implying that whatever Justin said to him was effective.
And so in the letter the emperor effectively says to the people of Asia. Listen, I get it, you don’t like the Christians, but if they’re doing something wrong then I assure you that the Gods can handle their own business themselves. And as it is, by persecuting them, you’re causing them to believe more. Meaning that everything you’re doing is backfiring. And so while you’re busy persecuting the Christians, it’s causing them to worship their God, more than you worship yours!
Then interestingly he addresses the fact that there have been earthquakes. And the implication of what he says implies that the people viewed them as a judgement event from God, which by the way is what I think they actually are.
Our modern day scientists, by giving us a scientific explanation for why they occur, enable us to go on sinning without the proper fear that those earthquakes should be instilling. But that’s just a suspicion of mine so I’ll move on. However, the emperor essentially says, “it’s not my place to admonish you, God did that with the earthquake,” and so he moves on, too.
And then he does something far more effective than the previous emperors to date. He says, “Unless the Christians commit a crime against the government I don't want to hear about it. And if you do accuse them of a crime and they’re guilty that's fine, but if they are not-guilty then we're gonna pursue satisfaction with the accuser.
In chapter 14 we are told that Polycarp led many out of the heresies. And then a story is told that I handled in a prior podcast. You may recall I talked about the fact that these early disciples essentially said: don’t get into debates. If you know they’ve heard the truth, then don’t waste your time on them. Because if they’ve heard the truth and they’re feigning ignorance or disagreement then they are wolves in sheeps clothing. That's what they are that's why they do it. Let God handle those people and just move on otherwise you’ll get bogged down by their lies, and you’re giving them exactly what they want. Which is the pleasure of distracting you from doing God’s work. Meaning that you'll get so wrapped up in debates with these people that you will lose focus and they will consume all of your time, which is what they want.
And that’s freeing btw. Doing this study just to discover that one piece of advice is worth it. Because you do get bogged down by people that you want to convince — and unless you realize they aren’t being slow, they're not dense, they’re being wicked. And when you know that you can just ignore them, you are able to move onto bigger and more important tasks.
In chapter 15 we get details about Polycarp’s martyrdom, where we learn that he was whipped so severely his organs were visible. And then finally, he was tossed as food to the wild beasts.
Germanicus was so inspired by Polycarp that he joined him in his martyrdom on the spot. The proconsul tried to dissuade him saying, you’re young and good looking and you have your whole life ahead of you. But Germanicus persisted and even irritated the wild beasts against himself.
And then we have a contrast character: Quintus upon seeing the martyrdom of Polycarp and Germanicus he renounced his faith.
In the middle of chapter 15, Eusebius backs up, so this is the chapter we've been talking about, and tells us what happened prior to the martyrdom of Polycarp. His friends encouraged him to leave the city and shipped him around ultimately bringing him to a secluded farm. And in a vision at night during prayer, his pillow burst into flames and then he woke and told his friends he believed he was about to be martyred in the flames.
And yet you just heard that he was whipped severely and fed to the wild beasts.
Eventually his pursuers caught up with him and though he could have escaped, he viewed the dream as an indication of God’s will and so when encouraged by his friends to flee, he refused. And when the soldiers saw him, they were surprised a man of his age was sentenced to be put to death, because as you recall from a previous podcast, he was 120 years old.
Polycarp responded to his pursuers by begging for one hour to pray, and he ordered that a table be set before them so they could eat and wait for him to finish and then he would go with them. And seeing that he was unafraid and not resisting, they ate.
They heard him praying and giving thanks for everyone in his life, everyone in his life, and were moved by his goodness.
However, they put him on an ass and brought him to Herod. Herod’s father Nicetes encouraged Polycarp to renounce his faith and accept mercy. But of course he refused.
He was then conducted to the stadium where he and many of the brethren heard a heavenly voice say, “Be strong Polycarp and contend manfully.”
And then there’s a dialog between Polycarp and the authorities that continues for a while and ends when they threaten to burn him with the fire unless he renounces God. Polycarp’s response was to say, “bring it!” And so they did. The people brought wood and stubble and placed it around Polycarp and somewhat like the pillow it flashed into a flame very quickly. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The soldiers came with stakes to nail his hands and Polycarp replied that it was unnecessary because God would give him the strength to endure the flames. And so they bound him with ropes instead.
Then Polycarp prayed out loud. “Father, I bless thee that has thought me worthy of the present day and hour to have a share in the number of the martyrs in the cup of Christ unto the resurrection of eternal life both in the soul and body in the incorruptible joy of the Holy Spirit. He continued praying and after he finished his prayer the soldiers lit the fire.
And then a wall of flames formed around him and they saw a miracle. He was in the midst not like burning flesh but Gold and Silver. And they smelled a fragrant odor like incense and when the wicked persecutors saw he was not consumed they commanded that executioner plunge his sword into him and kill him. But when he did, blood gushed out in such quantity that it extinguished the fire!
And since Eusebius described his demise at the beginning of the chapter he didn’t repeat it here. But apparently the devil was so troubled by Polycarp’s martyrdom that he tried to prevent the Christian’s from recovering his body. And so they concocted a story that they planned to worship it in order to get Nicetas to release it. They had no intention of course of doing that, but it caused him to release the body and he didn't know better. And after they received it they gave him a proper burial in an appropriate resting place.
And we’ve seen this behavior before where the devil contended over the body of Moses. That strikes me as incredibly creepy. I have a difficult time imagining a scenario where I have an enemy who was martyred in the fight against me, and I was so bitter afterwards that I wanted to keep the body. That’s clearly the behavior of the loser, and so this instructs us that winning may have a rather odd appearance.
Being whipped until your organs are visible and then being cast as food to wild beasts doesn’t look like winning. And yet clearly the devil’s behavior afterwards smacks of losing.
And so I wonder how often I confuse what looks like winning with losing and vice versa. Because I’ve certainly won some difficult battles and felt like the loser.
And this also makes me curious about what the devil planned to do with Polycarp’s corpse. I suspect I’ll eventually run across the answer because whenever I become curious, that’s usually an indication the answer might be coming.
Chapter 15 ends with the names of other martyrs as well as the places where records were kept with lists of martyrs. I noticed that Pergamus was noted there, which is known as the city where Satan had his throne.
I also find that odd. I would expect a more visible city like Babylon, Cairo, Athens Rome. One of those places... Why Pergamus? I rarely ever run across anything significant in history that ever mentions it. The closest I have ever come is Pergatory, and that’s unrelated. Admittedly I didn’t go looking. So I’ll keep my eyes open.
And yet that is consistent with the devil's behavior. He lurks in the shadows. It almost doesn’t surprise me that his throne would be somewhere insignificant and unexpected.
In Chapter 16 we learn that Justin who positioned himself as a Christian philosopher, was in a long term debate with a man named Crescens. And BTW, given the consistency with which I see the way that Eusebius uses the word philosopher, I’m inclined to think he means debate. And that squares with Plato’s dialogs. Plato strikes me as a debator. And somewhere along the lines it seems like we began referring to Plato’s side of the argument as philosophy.
And so I’m going to make the prediction that in a future podcast I expect to tell you that I have confirmed (reviewing ancient documents) that what we call debate, is what they called philosophy back then.
It turns out that Justin and a man named Crescens were engaged in a long-term debate. As I said and Justin made the comment in his writing that he expected to be waylaid and put on the rack by Crescens himself. He publicly attempts to contend against matters he doesn’t understand merely to captivate and gratify the crowd.
Justin then wrote to the emperor indicating that he contended with Crescens the philosopher about Christianity and by his questions he was able to conclude that the man was arguing against a religion and philosophy he didn’t even understand or research. But that he pretends to be an authority for the sake of the crowd and for money. And having debated him previously he offered to debate him publicly and expose him unless they are already aware he is both uneducated and misinformed.
And he concludes that letter saying that Crescens is a lover of vainglory and not wisdom.
And this is where he comes to a very sad end: as he prophesied he ended up dying at the hands of Crescens who could not withstand his arguments; meaning he was waylaid by a fool who pretended to have studied Christianity and argued against it, but he proved through stupidity that he knew nothing of it.
Can you imagine dying at the hands of your arch enemy? Particularly after repeatedly defeating him publicly and proving him to be a liar? That’s a cruel joke.
According to Eusebius it would seem that the philosophers had a special hatred for Justin because at the same time they were unable to defeat him in debate, he was also able to prove they were nothing more than greedy gluttons who seemed to know they were wrong, but who lied knowingly and pretended to believe their own words. Meaning that they exchanged the truth for a lie. Those are my words not his, but I think I’ve encapsulated the core of what he was communicating. And I would add to it that:
History teaches us that man learns nothing from history. Which is my way of saying, I know some men who act like this now. And I could name names. Men who use their talkshows in the same way these ancient philosophers used their stumps and pulpits.
Crescens was so afraid of death that he had Justin Martyred because he feared the consequences of allowing him to speak. Meaning that he worried that if he continued losing to Justin, the people would seek his life. And so because of his great fear of death, he became the instrument of death, driven to kill by his own cowardice.
And sadly it would seem that that happens more often than it should.
And that's all folks!
As always have a brilliant week. Thank you for listening. And y'all come back now. Ya here?
Full Transcript Part 10
Today I will be reviewing Eusebius church history part 10
In part 9 I mentioned that I disliked the writings of Justin Iranaeus', but I was unclear that Eusebius had introduced a second Justin. Because he was unclear he did that. Justin son of Priscus is a different Justin. He's also known as Justin the Martyr and was a disciple of Justin Iranaeus, which is just downright confusing. There at least three Justins that Eusebius has mentioned so far, one was a heretic, and the other two were reputable historian writers. And so using two of them back to back, calling them both by first name, is super confusing.
But, I won't do that to you. Today, we'll be talking primarily about Justin the Martyr, the disciple of Justin Iranaeus.
Preview of Today's Message
Today we begin with chapter 17 in Book 4. And in our message we will complete Book 4 and start book 5. Our session begins with the practical matter of: is a woman required to remain married to an abusive unbeliever? So if you have ever wanted to know that. If you've ever wanted to know how the early church would have handled such a situation, then today's message is for you!
Fans of my Full Transcripts will love what I've done with today's message because Eusebius identified a treasure trove of laundry lists of bishops successions, emperors, and precious historical writing and author names that you can review at length on my website. Just go to today's message and click on the Full Transcript, which is full of names and links to those resources! You are welcome!
Chapter 17 begins with a story about a woman who is married and then receives Christ. Prior to receiving Him she lived a crude promiscuous lifestyle with her husband, but afterward she became modest and her husband continued with his vile behavior. She considered it wicked to live with him because he was intent upon gratifying his lusts on her and so she contemplated a divorce.
Now I love the practicality of this chapter because Eusebius comments that she did violence to herself by acting on the advice of her busybody friends, who encouraged her to remain with her husband through it all.
It's easy to give advice to others when you aren't experiencing the problems yourself nor are you required to live with the consequences of that advice. I'm sure we've all been on the receiving end of such advice of well meaning Christians who told us what to do and expected us to just obey, but I like how this chapter continues. It says:
She feared she would have a share in his unrighteousness when she stood before God and so she sent him a bill of divorce. Meaning that to remain with him would violate her new standard of living in accordance to acting on the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, that wasn't the end of the matter. Her husband brought an accusation against her asserting that she was a Christian, which in that day was the sort of allegation that could get you killed. The man who had formally been her husband was unable to say anything against her. So he turned to Ptolemy who had become her instructor in the principles of Christianity. He had the man seized and cast him in prison and punished by the Centurion for a long time.
Eusebius said that Ptolemy professed the principles of celestial virtue when he was asked if he was a Christian. And then he offered some interesting commentary: He said he that denies he is a Christian either despises God or is conscious that he is unworthy of the religion and so he avoids the confession. I thought about that and it sounds reasonable.
A man named Lucius who was also a Christian asked Urbicius what charges were brought against these people that he should punish someone who is neither an adulterer nor murder, but whose only crime is professing The name of Christian. This of course brought the eye of scrutiny on Lucius who was promptly asked if he too was a Christian. He said "by all means!" And so he was commanded to be let forth. Meaning he was taken into custody with the others. Lucius then thanked Urbicius for liberating him from wicked Masters and sending him to the good father and King.
Chapter 18 identifies a list of nine of the works of Justin the Martyr, which you will find in the Full Transcripts.
The works of Justin the Martyr:
- Apology (mentioned in chapter 17)
- A Defense of our Faith
- A book against the Greeks
- The nature of demons
- The Refutation (a work against the Gentiles)
- The sovereignty of God
- Remarks on the Soul
- A dialog against the Jews (at Ephasus with Tryphon)
However, Eusebius added remarks for two of those works.
He said, that with regard to work called the sovereignty of God (6), Justin established it by the Holy Scriptures and by references to the works of the Greeks.
And with regard to a dialog against the Jews (9): Justin stated how insidiously they plotted against the doctrine of Christ.
Justin sent the following words to Tryphon, he said: "You not only continue impenitent for your evil deeds, but selecting chosen men, you sent them from Jerusalem to all the world, declaring that the infidel sect of Christians had made its appearance, and uttering all those falsehoods against us which those that know us not, are accustomed to repeat. Thus you are the cause of iniquity not only to yourselves but to all others also."
Justin also noted that even down to this time the gift of prophecy shown forth in the church; he mentioned the Revelation of John plainly calling it the work of the apostle and recorded also certain prophetic declarations in his discussion with Tryphon, showing that the Jews had expunged them from the Scriptures.
Now that last statement grabbed my attention. Did you catch that? He said the Jews had expunged certain prophetic declarations from the Scriptures. If you haven't listened to Part 1 of this series you should definitely check it out, because I establish that the Greek Septuagint version of the Bible, which was the one the Jews used in Jesus' day; that version of the Bible was filled with the words Jesus Christ everywhere. Because the Greek rendering of the name Joshua is Jesus and Messiah or anointed in Hebrew are both rendered as Christ in Greek. Thus in Jesus' day it would have been impossible to miss that the Old Testament was about him! If that doesn't ring a bell, it's because I posted a second edition after I stumbled onto that revelation. The second edition of that podcast is far superior to the first in every way: better, faster, stronger and more interesting. So I assure you, it is worth your time. But continuing right along...
The question is, is Eusebius hurling the accusation that the Jews changed the Scriptures removing certain prophecies from it? Or is he simply saying they rejected John's Book of Revelation from their Scriptures entirely. If it's the latter, that's something we all know, but if the former, then that reinforces the importance of returning to the source and re-reading these old documents because it is because of this study that I know the words Jesus Christ appeared everywhere in the Old Testament 2,000 years ago. And that my friends, is a whopper of a Revelation! Making this study crucial for Christians everywhere to complete.
The way Eusebius made that statement was ambiguous. And so I can't be sure he was hurling revisionist accusations, or simply stating they rejected the Book of Revelation, but I will be on the lookout for more information.
I know that's contrary to what we were taught. We were taught the Jews went to great lengths including re-writing entire pages for a single mistake, but I'm beginning to question that. Particularly because Jesus called the Pharisees and the Scribes snakes and sons of the devil. What do you figure the Scribes were in charge of writing? Before Jesus Christ came, I'm sure they were diligently doing as we have been told, but after Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of Scripture and particularly after they crucified him, they engaged in a coverup that continues to this day. So if you don't have a Septuagint version of the Bible, I suggest you pick one up because there was no reason for a coverup until after the Jews crucified our Lord. It is downright suspicious that our Old Testaments use the words Joshua Messiah while our New Testaments say Jesus Christ and nowhere in the church are we educated that one version is the Hebrew rendering of his name while the other is the Greek. That detail is crucial!
If your name was Jesus Christ, and all versions of the Bible after the Septuagint suddenly had Joshua Messiah in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the new, you can't tell me that wouldn't strike you as suspicious. And it would certainly explain why you would call the Scribes snakes.
However, God did tell us to seek and we would find, and so while there are some rotten people doing some nefarious things, God has a limit to the number of shenanigans he allows before intervening. I obviously love the Bible. It's full of timeless truths that led me on a journey unpacking some of creations greatest secrets including this one: the revelation that the Old Testament doesn't just foreshadow the coming of Jesus Christ, it names him specifically repeatedly.
Eusebius closes chapter 18 with the comment:
"Well did Justin say, that before the appearance of our Lord, Satan never ventured to blaspheme God, because he did not yet know his own condemnation."
And so that's fascinating partly because it confirms a suspicion I had, which was that Satan ran tests before misbehaving. Tests like suggesting that the snake tempt Eve rather than doing it himself. But apparently after the crucifixion, God had a conversation with the devil that didn't go well. And according to Revelation 12 there will come a day, if it's not here already where Satan is cast out of heaven down to the earth and he knows his time is short. Meaning that at some point he has nothing to lose and his fate is to burn in Hell for an eternity. How could he possibly sink any lower, and so what does he really have to lose by blaspheming God?
Chapters 19 - 22 tell us about the succession of Bishops and Emperors. I've noted that in the Full Transcript on my website, so you don't have to listen to it here.
In chapter 19 we find out that in the eighth year of Verus the Emperor:
In Rome, Anicetus, was succeeded by Soter
At Alexandria, Celadion, was succeeded by Agrippinus.
In chapter 20 we find out that
In Antioch, Theophilus was the sixth in succession from the apostles
Cornelius was the fourth. Eros was the fifth
In chapter 21 we find out that
In Corinth, Dionysius was Bishop
In Crete, Pinytus was Bishop
The following are historian writers:
In chapter 22 Hegesippus in the five books of commentaries left a complete record of his own views of the Church of Corinth where he said that it continued in the true faith until Primus was Bishop there. So everything was fine in Corinth until Primus came along and messed it up.
The succession of bishops in Rome was:
The succession of bishops in Jerusalem was:
- James the Just,
- Simeon the son of Cleophas (the Lord's uncle) was appointed the second bishop in Jerusalem.
*Thebuthis made a beginning secretly to corrupt it on account of his not being made Bishop. He was one of those seven sects among the Jewish people:
The heresies are:
- From Simeon sprung the sect of Simonians
- From Cleobius, sprung the sect of Cleobians
- From Dositheus sprung the sect of Dosittheans
- From Gorthoeus sprung the sect of Gorthoeonians
- From Masbotheus sprung the sect of Masbotheeans
- From Marcionists sprung the sect of Menandrians
- Basilikans and
There were also different opinions in the circumcision against the tribe of Judah and the Messiah viz the:
- the Galilieans,
- the Samaritans,
- the Sadducees
- and Pharisees.
He also stated some particulars from the gospel of the Hebrews and from the Syriac (Syriac is a language).
With regard to the Apocrypha, Hegesippus said some were forged by heretics. Implying others or perhaps most were fine. We tend to use the word some to represent the minority. I haven't yet reviewed the Apocrypha so I have nothing to contribute in that regard.
In chapter 23 Dionysius Bishop of Corinth imparted freely the blessing of his labors he was most useful to all in the Catholic epistles that he addressed the churches particularly the:
he excited them to the faith prescribed by the gospel from which he showed they had swerved so that they had nearly fallen from the truth since the martyrdom of Publius the bishop. However, Quadratus who was Bishop afterwords revived the church by his exertions.
He inserted an epistle to the Gnossians in which he admonished Pinytus the bishop of the church not to impose a burden in regard to purity that was too great to be born but to pay regard to the infirmity of the great mass of people.
Pinytus wrote in reply that he admired and applauded Dionysius but he exhorted him to impart stronger food to feed the people under him with writings abounding in more perfect doctrine. He wanted that to be in the next message that he wrote so that they may not remain nurtured by milky doctrine and grow old under a discipline for children.
This implies to me that in an attempt to create spiritual growth Pinytus over-emphasized purity in the church, meaning that he started pounding the law. And when he was rebuked he repented and communicated his underlying concern, which was, well how then do I create spiritual growth? We want spiritual growth, how do we get it? I admire his humility and I suspect he's not the first person to struggle with this mistake. Eusebius goes on to say that:
It was the practice to read these epistles in the churches. The same author wrote respecting his own epistles that some had been corrupted. He said, “I wrote them and these the apostles of the devil have filled with tares, exchanging some things and adding others. It is no wonder then but some have attempted to adulterate the sacred writings of the Lord."
In chapter 24, we learned that there are three books containing the elements of the faith addressed to Autolycus, which were written by Theophilus the Bishop of Antioch.
Another has the title against the heresy of Hermogenis, in which he made use a testimony from the revelation of John….
The heretics were like tares destroying the pure seed of the apostolic doctrines, the pastors in the churches everywhere hastened to restrain them as wild beasts from the fold of Christ sometimes by exhortation and admonition, sometimes openly contending by oral discussions and refutations, and then again by rigid proofs in written works.
Theophilus contended against these from a work written by him against Marcion which is still preserved. Theophilus was succeeded by Maximinus, the seventh from the apostles in the church of Antioch.
In chapter 25 Philip was bishop of the church at Gortnya and he wrote an elaborate work against Marcion along with Iraneaus and Modestus.
In chapter 26 Melito Bishop of the church in Sardis and Apollinaris Bishop of Hierapolis each addressed discourses as apologies for the faith to the existing Emperor of the Romans.
Apologies for the Faith by Melito
- On the Passover,
- On the Conduct of Life
- On the Prophets
- On the Church
- On the Lord's Day
- On the Nature of Man
- On His Formation (Man)
- On the Subjection of the Senses to Faith
- On the Soul, the Body, and the Mind
- Truth and Faith
- the Generation of Christ
- On Prophecy
- On Hospitality
- the Key
- On the Devil
- The Revelation of John
- On the Incarnate God
- the Discourse to Antonine
Clement of Alexandria wrote On the Passover (because of this work by Melito)
In a letter to the emperor, Melito said:
The race of the Pius is now persecuted, driven about in Asia, by new and strange decrees. Shameless informers, and those that crave the property of others openly perpetrate robbery; Night and day plundering those who are guilty of no crime… if these things are done by your orders let them be done in a proper way… We indeed cheerfully bear the reward of such a death, but we urge upon you this request that you take notice of these plotters of mischief and judge whether they deserved death and punishment or safety and security. If the decree is not preceded from you we urge you not to overlook us in the midst of this lawless plunder.
Nero and Domition alone showed a disposition to slander our faith. This falsehood respecting Christians has been propagated by an absurd practice of waylaying and informing.
Chapters 27 and 28 both identify authors and books that you can find on my website.
In chapter 27 are the works of Apollinaris Bishop of Hierapolis he wrote An Apology, five books against the Greeks two books on truth to also against the Jews he wrote about the heresy of the Phrygians. And then began to spring up the sect of Montanus with his false prophetesses.
In chapter 28 Musanus is said to have written a very elegant work about the heresy of the Encratites. The founder was Tatianus
In Chapter 29 we learn of a heresy called that of Tatianus. He was the disciple of Justin, who was martyred. And after Justin was gone, he apostatized from the church and became a teacher, he was overcome by pride. So he started his own heresy. The Encratites proclaimed abstinence from marriage. Setting aside the original design of God. They deny the salvation of our first parents. And he invented invisible Aeons, similar to those of Valentinus. He said marriage was only corruption and fornication.
A certain man by the name of Severus strengthened the above mentioned heresy. From him sprang another sect called the Severians. They set aside the writings of the apostle Paul and he dared to alter certain expressions of the apostles. He also left a great multitude of writings the most noted was the work against the Greeks. In that book, he proved that Moses and the prophets were more ancient. And it appears to be the most elegant and profitable of his works. I find that to be an interesting comment, because it reveals that while Eusebius disagrees with most of his work, he acknowledges that some of his writings were in fact useful. And I often find that to be the case myself, because in order for a charlatan to get noticed, they first must do something of value.
In chapter 30 Bardesanes was a man of great abilities he composed dialogs against Marcion, which were translated from the Syriac into the Greek. And among them was the most able dialogue on fate addressed to Antonine. He was at first a disciple of Valentine, but he rejected the doctrine and refuted most of his fictions but he did not entirely wipe away the filth of the old heresy. About this time Soter, Bishop of Rome died.
And that's the end of book 4!
Book 5 opens with a perliminary.
Soter, Bishop of Rome was succeeded by Eleutherus who was the 12th from the apostles. It was also the 17th year of Emperor Verus when a more violent persecution broke out against the Christians. It is probable that innumerable martyrs obtained the crown of eminence in this conflict. Being worthy of a remembrance the full account of these martyrs is given in our history of the martyrs.
While many cultures would boast of wars and victory, our narrative embraces the peace of the soul who mentally contend for the truth and struggled for piety rather than their dearest friends who endured innumerable trials over the devils agents gain victory over invisible Antagonists.
The number and sufferings of those who suffered for the faith in Gaul
Gaul was the place where the arena was prepared for the conflict. The greatness indeed of the tribulation in the extent of the madness exhibited by the heathen against the Saints; in the sufferings which the martyrs endured, we are not able to fully declare nor is it indeed possible to describe them. For the adversary assailed us with his whole strength, giving us already a Prélude, how unbridled his future movements among us would be. And indeed he resorted to every means to accustom and exercise his own servants against those of God.
If I could interject an observation here. It would seem that the devil tends to settle on an approach that works until it stops working. There was a stage in history where the devil's agents masqueraded as false gods like Poseidon and Atlas Aphrodite and Aries... And then after Noah's flood they changed tactics instead of manifesting in the flesh and working openly, he turned to the subterfuge all out blitz approach that he used on Job. Meaning that in the beginning, they masqueraded openly as angels of light and then after the flood they worked in the shadows. Installing ministers in churches and creating a religious elite known as the Pharisees and Sadducees. And that was fine until Jesus came along and rocked the boat. And then he became openly aggressive still working in the shadows he worked through people to persecute the Christians making sport of them in Coloseums. I get the impression, that at some point in history, the devils became quiet. Because they wanted the sons of man to forget the art of spiritual warfare completely. Paul comments in Scripture that he doesn't beat the air aimlessly, implying he understands his enemy referring to his awareness of the devils devices, and thus he hits the target. If I'm right and there was an investment of 100 years or so of demonic silence, then the sons of man would raise up new generations of ignorant children who seriously underestimated their opponent. Enabling them to fight in the shadows going largely unfettered and unopposed implying that anyone who believes in Spiritual Warfare is a crazy extremist so they can go largely unchallenged. Now I'll be on the lookout for a confirmation of that, but I usually find a basis for my educated guesses I make.
But the grace of God contended for us and rescued the week and prepared those who like firm pillars were able through patience to sustain the whole of the enemies violence against them… and first they nobly sustained all the evils that were heaped upon them by the populace, clamors, and blows, plundering and robberies, stoning's and imprisonments, and whatsoever a savage people delight to afflict upon enemies. After this they were led to the forum and when interrogated by the Tribune and the authorities of the city in the presence of the multitude they were shut up in prison until the arrival of the governor; afterwards they were led away to be judged.
Vettius Epagathus who had walked blameless before God abounding in zeal and fervent in spirit could not bear to see judgment passed against us, but gave vent to his indignation. Those of the tribunal cried out against him for he was a man of eminent standing asking only whether he also were Christian. He confessed he was in a clear voice and he too was transferred to the number of martyrs, but he displayed by the fullness of his love following the lamb wherever he would go. The first martyrs endured their sufferings with promptness most cheerfully finishing the confession of martyrdom. They appeared so week as to be incapable of bearing the intensity of the mighty contest, and about 10 fell away causing great sorrow and damping the courage of those who had not yet been taken. Then indeed we were all struck with great fear trembling last they should apostatize.
Some domestics were also seized. The governor publicly commanded search to be made for all of us. But some at the instigation of Satan, fearing the tortures, charged us with the feasts of Thyestes and the incest of Oedipus — such crimes as are neither lawful for us to speak nor think. We do not even believe they were committed by men. All we're savaging their treatment to us. Then they carried their cruelty and rage against us and so was fulfilled the declaration of our Lord that the day would come when everyone that sleigh you will think he's doing God's service. Satan striving with all his power that some blasphemy might be uttered by them. Most violently did the collective madness of the mob rage against us. While we were all trembling Blandina who was herself one of the martyrs was apprehensive lest through the weakness of the flesh she should not be able to profess her faith. She was filled with such power that her ingenious tormentors confessed they were overcome. They had nothing more that they could inflict upon her. And were only amazed that she still continued to breathe after her whole body was torn asunder and pierced. They gave testimony that one single kind of torture itself was sufficient to destroy life without resorting to so many and such excruciating sufferings as these.
Her confession renewed her strength. To repeat I am Christian no wickedness is carried on by us, was refreshment and relief from her pain.
And so concludes chapter 1 of Book 5 of the History of the Church.
And that's all folks! Have a brilliant week! And y'all come back now, ya here?
Full Transcript Part 11
Hey, welcome back!
This is part 11 of the Ecclesiastical history of the church. In part 10, I relied heavily upon the words of Eusebius as I described the martyrdom of many Christians. I'll be doing that again today. We left off about a quarter of the way through chapter 1 of Book 5, because it's a long chapter. It's also full of stories about martyrdoms and reading it got harder and harder. Although I will describe several martyrdoms today, especially in this chapter, I only get about halfway through because... It's a hard read. Book 5 is a very serious book. The whole thing is a difficult read. And so I believe I have done you the favor of slogging through a book you may never want to read and summarizing it for those of you so only those who want this kind of information, will decide to dive in.
And I will end today's podcast with a very serious warning about the folly of starting cults and leading God's people astray. That message is based on the message in chapter 16 of Book 5. The ending is in fact so serious that I would suggest you queue up a light-hearted podcast afterwards. If you haven't heard the Of Mice and Men podcast I would try that one. Or if you have, then listen to my Special Delivery by Danielle Steel podcast. Both of those are funny messages that will break up the heavy mood that I leave you with at the end of this podcast.
Being 150 pages into the study, you can't help, but conclude that after all the things Satan tried to destroy the Christian martyrs, he had to be frustrated. Nothing he did worked and he didn't exactly skimp when it came to trying new things. He was hitting the church from every angle and the more he attacked, the more they clung to God — causing Christianity to flourish. And so that potentially explains why he doesn't do that today. His attacks are far less visible today then they were back then. Presumably because those earlier attacks backfired.
Having read so many pages and so many stories about these martyrdoms, I am forced to conclude, that those being martyred for the faith receive a divine protection from the pain. Like Shadrack Meshak and Abednego, these martyrs allowed themselves to be bound and afflicted, and like a lamb before its shearers is silent, so they opened not their mouths...
And yet that's not entirely true. A frail attractive and weak woman by the name of Blandina cried out with every blow. She would say, "We are Christian, no wickedness is carried on by us." And it turns out that renewed her strength. A strength we discover she needed because there are several pages describing the tortures she endured. It was as if she was immortal and simply could not be killed. Her ability to absorb the blows was itself torture to those inflicting them because they exhausted themselves trying to find ways to make her die. They wanted her to death to be slow and painful so she would renounce her faith, but after so much torture, they began putting their minds to ways to just make her die.
A man named Sanctus was also tortured. And it would seem that the goal of his tormentors was to get him to blurt out a blasphemy or curse word against God. However, they couldn't even get the man to utter his own name. When they asked him who he was, his only reply was, "I am a Christian." In the words of Eusebius: "No other words did the heathens hear from him." When they had nothing further they could inflict they fastened red hot plates to the most tender parts of his body. But he continued unsubdued and unshaken, firm in his confession, refreshed and strengthened by the celestial fountain of living water that flows from Christ. The corpse was evidence of his sufferings: it was one continued mangled wound; shriveled having entirely lost the form of a man.
I'll quote this excerpt from Eusebius as he stated it because I couldn't possibly do it any better:
There is nothing painful where the glory of Christ prevails. For when the lawless tormentors tortured the martyr again during the day, and supposed that while the wounds were swollen and inflamed, if they applied the same torments, they would subdue him as if he would not then be able to bear even the touch of the hand. Or else that dying under these tortures, he would strike terror into the rest. Not only was there no appearance like this, but beyond all human expectation the body raised itself and stood erect. And it recovered the former shape and habit of the limbs so that his second tortures became, through the grace of Christ, not his torment, but his cure.
Meaning that after pulverizing this man, and then going back to give him another round after his wounds had inflamed, the new tortures they inflicted actually resulted in his body retaking it's former shape resulting in a cure of sorts.
Believe it or not, there were so many stories of martyrdoms, that at this point we're only half-way through chapter 1 of Book 5. which began at the end of the last podcast. And so rather than describe every one, which gets harder the more you read, I'll tell you what happened with Blandina:
Given the frustrations they had with killing her, she and Ponticus were brought forth every day to observe the tortures of the rest. This noble mother acted as if she were invited to a marriage feast and not to be cast as food to wild beasts. Finally at one point, she was torn and beaten and then left to be eaten, but the wild beasts wouldn't touch her. They tied her to a pole in a colosseum and after the hungry beasts refused to eat, they took her down. And then again after scourging, torture and roasting she was thrown into a net and cast before a bull. And after being well tossed by him, she was finally dispatched.
For anyone who has listened to this entire series, you know there is no shortage of stories about martyrdoms. And it gets hard to read some of them so I've skipped many.
With regard to the ten who abdicated their faith; we heard about them at the end of part 10 of this series. They obviously did so because fear overcame them; and that happened while watching the others be tortured. Eusebius indicated that Satan gained a sense of hope in these ten that he could use them to instill fear in the rest. And in a sense that was true, but not in the way he imagined. The faithful were instilled with concern for the eternal situation of the weaker brothers and sisters.
Life comes down to moments: their decision to abdicate could have eternal consequences. And so the greatest fear among the believers was that those who gave into fear, would go to hell and be tormented eternally. And this presented a sort of irony in the sense that, they were willing to trade momentary torture for eternal torment in persistent flames.
So while one would think that the concern would be that others would follow suit out of fear, instead their concern was that God would forgive these poor souls and spare them despite their weakness. And so the faithful martyrs prayed fervently for those who lost their nerve. And it would seem the prayers worked because shortly thereafter, all ten recanted and once again professed Jesus Christ deciding to be martyred along with their Christian brothers and sisters. You have to give them credit not only because of the stories of martyrdom that I've read to you, but also because of the parts I didn't read.
In a sense I jumped ahead because Chapter 2 describes the restoration of these ten Christians who at first abdicated their faith. But it's worth noting that in chapter 1, we have an example of someone who after abdicating her faith, was consigned to the torture anyway. Because Satan viewed this as weakness. He considered it an opportunity to finally torture someone who would scream and carry on in a way that would instill fear in everyone else. Having at last seen a sign of weakness he was determined to exploit in her. He thought she would be more likely to scream and utter blasphemies having renounced her faith. But instead, she awakened and reminded herself that hell is eternal torment. And so she once again confessed Christ and died nobly as a martyr. So far there have been no stories that I've run across where someone who abdicated their faith, actually received mercy for doing it. There were some who were let go, but it wasn't because they abdicated their faith, it was for other reasons. Meaning there is every reason to remain strong and no reason to show weakness if confronted with the specter of martyrdom.
And yet Eusebius commented that these noble martyrs didn't view themselves as martyrs, they viewed Christ as the one and only real martyr for the faith.
With regard to Chapter 3 I'm not sure if Eusebius, who I wouldn't say is known for his sense of humor, decided to tell an amusing story on purpose, or if I just view it that way. He commented that there was one man who led such a poor miserable life, that when he was imprisoned for his faith, it actually raised his standard of living. Apparently this poor fellow lived on meager amounts of bread and water, as a matter of normal course and was thrilled when presented with other food choices as part of his imprisonment. And so he partook of all kinds of food and gave thanks to God that his situation had improved.
In Chapter 4 it essentially just states that the martyrs had a great deal of respect for Justin Iranaeus and his work as a historian.
Chapter 5 is a good story of divine providence during war not unlike the fantastic stories in the book called the Light and the Glory, which I did a podcast on last Thanksgiving, which of course you can find in the links in the Full Transcript of this podcast.
In the case of this story, Marcus Aerelius had an army that was severely dehydrated and consequently unable to fight. And so in a divine two for one, the Christian believers in his army prayed that God would send them rain to quench their thirst, and God exceeded their expectations, by not only doing exactly that, but by chasing away the opposing army using lightning bolts. Due to the boldness of this army in sinking to their knees even while in battle array against their enemy, calling down the power of God to quench their thirst and save their lives, they were nicknamed "the Thundering Legion" by Apollinaris. Apparently Tertullian tells this story in greater detail and confirms the Christian account from the perspective of a secular historian.
Chapter 6 identifies the succession of bishops in Rome providing a comprehensive list of twelve (in order from the apostles Peter and Paul). And of course I've provided a link to that list in the Full Transcripts of this podcast.
Chapter 7 implies that miracles were tapering off in the church generally. Justin Iranaeus commented that "instances of divine and miraculous power were remaining in some churches." And he further stated that when it came to resurrections, it sometimes required the entire church fast and pray.
Apparently, at some point people began saying that Jesus only worked miracles in appearance. Suggesting they weren't real miracles. But Justin countered that argument by saying, that these miracles began with him. And he gave authority to believers in him in order to continue them, and even to the present day, they were seeing believers actually working miracles. Meaning that it's ridiculous to suggest that his disciples were able to do things he couldn't. So Justin's just tackling a lie that was circulating at the time. And then he lists all of the signs that follow true believers as proofs: demons are being cast out, the sick healed, and people being resurrected from the dead and living for years afterwards. And since there are an infinite number of gifts, he doesn't site others. But he does mention the rest (as I just did).
In chapter 8 we find out that Mark was a companion and interpreter for Peter and so the Gospel according to Mark is actually based on the message Peter proclaimed. And this true also of the gospel according to Luke which is based on the message that Paul preached. John wrote his own gospel based on his own message. And it says that Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew when Peter and Paul were preaching and founding a church in Rome. I'm not sure if those two things are related, but I included it the way he did (in case it's significant). And by he I mean Eusebius.
Eusebius also mentions the name of the Antichrist in this chapter without revealing the name itself. He says and I quote, "the number of the name of the beast is indicated by the Greek letters which it contains." If you do a Google search on that expression, meaning if you search for "how do you write 666 in Greek?" there are a lot of guesses out there, but the Greek letters themselves seem to be all the same all the time: ΧΞϚ´(in capitals) and χξϚ in lowercase. They're hard to describe so I've included them in the full transcript for this podcast. But I notice that it looks a little like the word, sex written backwards using an elaborate writing style. Not that I'm suggesting that's the answer, that's just an observation that will help you visualize the Greek letters I'm struggling to describe.
Perhaps you've heard that the Septuagint was translated by 70 Jews familiar in both Hebrew and Greek. And if you have, then you probably know Septuagint is the Greek word that literally means 70. And I've mentioned that translation of the Bible in this series repeatedly. I haven't read the entire Septuagint myself, but I think it should be on our must read list of books even if you've read the Bible and so in addition to what I stated in part 1, you're about to hear another great reason why: Ptolemy wanted a Hebrew Bible written in Greek for the Library in Alexandria. So he commissioned 70 men fluent in both Hebrew and Greek to write a translation independently from each other. And he kept them separate from each other and commanded all of them to write the same translation. In the presence of Ptolemy, God was glorified, because when they compared all 70 translations which were rendered, they were rendered in the exact same words and expressions from beginning to end. That is the only version of the Bible that can boast that. I've heard variations of this story suggesting that that was only related to the Torah, but Eusebius records that this was in relation to the Old Testament. And that's a big deal!
And this is where we learn something that was news to me: apparently during the captivity in Babylon the original sacred Scriptures were destroyed. Meaning that copy that Moses wrote was destroyed in Babylon. And so they were rewritten, the Scriptures were rewritten by a man named Esdras the priest of the tribe of Levi, by the inspiration of God 70 years later when they returned from their captivity in Babylon. Can God do that? Yes. Why don't we know that? You're going to have to ask your pastor to explain that one also.
In chapter 10 we learn about the school of the faithful which was established from ancient times. It was governed by Pantaenus the philosopher who was a disciplined stoic that constituted a herald of the gospel to the nations of the East as far as India (in the words of Eusebius). Bartholomew who preached from the gospel of Matthew left them a copy in Hebrew when he was in India.
In chapter 11 we learn about a second man called Clement of Alexandria. Different from the one who presided over the church at Rome. This one was devoted to the study of the Scriptures with Pantaenus. Eusebius seems to think this second Clement wrote the first book of Stromata. A book which was designed to be a personal remedy against his forgetfulness (in his words). And then he indicates that Stromata was an amalgamation of teachings from several excellent teachers that he names who incidentally, I've never heard of. Ionicus in Greece, Magna Graecia. He said, these men preserved the true tradition of doctrine given by Peter, James, John and Paul descending from father to son.
Chapter 12 mentions Narcissus, bishop of Jerusalem. And in case you're curious, I believe the man who inspired the word narcissistic was a gladiator, not a bishop. The rest of chapter 12 is a list of bishops to the Gentiles in Jerusalem which I've of course captured on my website.
Chapter 13 tells us the Rhodo wrote many books and some combated the heresy of Marcion. Rhodo also accurately refuted the perverse doctrines devised by each; for example: he said these heretics are divided among themselves. Meaning they're in dispute with each other. Apelles professed to believe one principle only: that the prophetic declarations came from a bad spirit. But Rhodo comments that he was under the spell of a demoniac named Philumena who was a virgin he presumably liked a little too much. Marcion himself introduced two principles while others still professed three principles. One of Marcion's key principles involved a heavy dose of licentiousness (or lust). And so we see where all of this is going...
A man names Syneros argued that each man should do what was right in his own eyes. After all, what could that possibly go wrong? And so that was understandably a popular position because by definition he assumed a position everyone could agree with. But he added that so long as you believe in the crucifixion and you do good works, and while so far that actually sounds pretty good... Rhodo then describes a dialog with him that revealed the man was evasive and would say whatever it took to get agreement from others. In their debate, Rhodo managed to get him to state that he disagreed with the prophecies of the prophets suggesting that they were totally wrong. And when pressed, his whole argument fell apart. Rhodo then commented, "he (Marcion) asserted he was a teacher, but knew not how to establish that which he taught."
With respect to Chapter 14 I'll summarize the text mostly using the words of Eusebius. Here we go: As the enemy of the church the promoter of evil, omits no method of plotting against men, he was active in causing new heresies to spring up. A man named Montanus pretended to be the paraclete (which means Holy Spirit). And he had two prophetess followers named Priscilla and Maximilla.
In Chapter 15 we learn that a man names Blastus caused a schism. If, like me, you don't know what that word means, I'll define it for you since it will be coming up later. A schism in the modern vernacular would be a church split. In this case, this schism happened in Rome. Apparently Florinus and Blastus were presbyters (or elders in the church) and they both decided to seduce the church into following their differing opinions, each one introducing their own innovations.
In Chapter 16 we have a showdown. God raised up a powerful weapon and antagonist in Apollinaris of Hierapolis. And it would seem that he challenged Montanus (the man who claimed to be the Holy Spirit in chapter 14). He challenged him to a debate. Then we're given an excerpt from a letter which reveals that Apollinaris is humble and his greatest fear was that the debate itself might lead to unintended new doctrines, which is a smart concern.
And I understand this concern all too well. Because I've done book reviews for many religious works because I believe that if people understand what the books actually say they don't really need my commentary to make wise decisions about what's right and what's wrong. Because people are smart and the truth is self-evident. There is only one truth. Anyone who tells you there is more than one truth is lying.
The biggest hurdle is that people don't read the books. They see the book and they figure that if there is a book, it must be a well-thought-out true religion. Especially if it's a big one filled with many people. And so they treat church like they treated high school. They just want to fit in and they want people to like them. They don't actually want to read the books or do homework or rock the boat because they might lose friends over that.
And like these ancient authors we're studying, I myself wrestled with whether God would want me reading holy books and explaining them. But God doesn't fear the truth and the trend that I see throughout the ages is men questioning whether it's a good idea to do this and then deciding or being told by God, that it is. Because if you don't confront a liar people wrongly conclude it's because they're telling the truth. Meaning that if someone states a lie in a group of people and no one ever challenges them, and especially if this happens repeatedly, then everyone walks away believing the liar was right. Once upon a time I would have let this go.
Apollinaris decided the public debate was necessary when he realized that by not confronting the heresy, it was throwing the church in Pontus into confusion. You see because the spectators don't want to get involved, they want a champion to rise up and tell them what to think. So Apollinaris went to the church and spent days clearing up the matter reducing the new prophecy to a false one. And the church rejoiced after they understood. And as Scripture teaches us: when you submit yourselves therefore to God and resist the devil he will flee from you. Which is exactly what happened. By explaining the truth to the church, it exposed the lie. No one runs faster than an exposed liar. Because if you've done your job correctly, then you reveal the reason why they lied. And all too often that exposes thieves. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
And then the chapter gets weird in an uncomfortable way. Montanus and his two prophetesses were overcome by the devil and they prophesied saying strange things and ultimately hung themselves the way that Judas did. Now considerable more detail is given in the chapter, but it makes me cringe even just to repeat it. I'm not sure you really want to read what it says, either.
The lesson here is that some people wander into false prophecy leading people astray as a form of extortion and they then risk opening themselves up to the devil for the sake of petty gains. God will defend a man with sincere and genuine heart who simply made a mistakes, but when someone exploits God's sheep, they do so at their own risk without the guarantees of his protection. It is unwise to make false prophecies and false doctrine and lead people astray because in so doing.... well, you don't know what kind of spirit you're entertaining. Generally speaking we do such things when we're listening to suggestions. So don't do it! Don't do it! Don't do it!
The chapter closes with the comment that some of the heresies had a vast number of martyrs. But that the Christian martyrs refused to communicate with those martyrs from the heresies for fear that it would give the appearance of an endorsement.
And so we'll end here. That's all folks! Have a brilliant week! And y'all come back now! Ya hear?
Full Transcript Part 12
Hey, welcome back!
Today I will be summarizing part 12 of the Ecclesiastical History of the Church.
I thought I'd start with a funny story. I used to help a special needs guy quite a bit. And one night when I was driving him home he said, "Hey, Tom! Can NASA land a rocket on the moon when it's a half moon?"
And I said, "Yeah, but it's a lot harder."
We are in Book 5 and
Chapter 17 continues the theme where we left of with respect to the heresies in chapter 16. A historian named Miltiades wrote a book against the heresy of Marcion. You may recall, at the end of the last podcast, we learned that Marcion was possessed by Satan and afterwards he hung himself as a result of that experience. Eusebius indicated that he prophesied in ecstasy. Which you will note is today the name of a popular drug, today. And so it's enlightening that back then they said, if anyone does this, it's a... it's a really bad sign. I'll quote him, he said:
"The false prophet is carried away by a vehement ecstasy, accompanied by want of all shame and fear... terminating in involuntary madness... violently agitated and carried away in spirit."
And then he commented that no prophet of God ever acted in this way.
He also said: "the apostle (meaning the writer he's quoting) shows that the gift of prophesy should be in all the church until the coming of the Lord."
And so I would interject that some churches would say that prophecy and miracles stopped with the first coming, but they seem to forget that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and there will be a second coming. Why would he not have prophets who at least prophecy the second coming of the Lord?
Chapter 18 makes some fascinating comments that cause one to question whether the churches of today are doing things right. Are they emulating an early heresy? This is on page 175, it says and I quote:
"Who is this new teacher?" (he's referring to Montanus, by the way) "Who is this new teacher?" who "taught the dissolution of marriage, imposed laws of fasting, and established exactors of money under the name of offerings devised to procure presents that his church might grow strong by gormandizing and gluttony."
After the woman were filled with the spirit of prophecy in his religion they left their husbands and apparently a woman named Prisca called herself a virgin. And he took issue with that given she was once married and obviously not a virgin.
Next he says that a man named Themison didn't want to be martyred like the others and so he threw aside bonds and imprisonment for abundance and wealth. And then he dared to draw up a catholic epistle to instruct others to utter impieties against God and his apostles. Which is kinda weird. I suppose I can understand the decision to forego martyrdom for money, but to then compound the offense by promoting the impieties against God strikes me as foolish.
And then going deeper into the charges against this cult he commented that Alexander called himself a martyr and feasted with a false prophetess.
And then in sarcasm he comments "who forgives who of sins? Does she forgive him his robberies or does he forgive her her avarice?" He says these have committed great crimes in regard to possession of things. And we shall show that they have derived pecuniary gain, not only from the wealthy, but from the poor, and widows and orphans. Then he goes on to say that Alexander was tried for robbery by the proconsul of Asia at Ephasus. But he was liberated presumably being found not guilty of being a Christian (those are my words). And after the trial the church refused to receive him because he was a thief. And they further commented that the prophetess denied living with him, but that Alexander said she did. Suggesting that she's a liar and they were both living in sin.
He continued saying that they would furnish a thousand proofs that it is wrong for a prophet to accept gifts. And he adds these charges to the list. He says, "Tell me, does a prophet dye his or her hair? Does a prophet stain her eyelids? Delight in ornament? Play with tablets and dice? (which I presume means gambling) Does he take usury?
And so the modern day reader would likely say, "Hey, this doesn't sound all that wrong. Churches pass the offering plate around. Everyone wears makeup and jewelry and dyes their hair these days. That's a culturally accepted thing."
And so this causes us to question the standard. Were these men right to judge these behaviors based on the fact that they had never seen them done by a prophet before? Or did perhaps God start allowing new things?
So allow me to update the language to make the problem more obvious:
It sounds like the issue was that this female prophetess denied living with a thief out of wedloc, wearing makeup and jewelry, gambling, lending money at interest, accepting and even arranging to receive gifts from the people presumably by charging them to get prophecies, suggesting this is the behavior of a psychic rather than a prophet. Eusebius viewed this couple in the same way we view televangelists. They extort the people for money selling their gifts, lending money at interest, accumulating wealth, wearing costly jewelry, flaunting their affluence and all under the pretense of humbly serving God.
But I'll remind you of what I quoted at the beginning: "Who is this new teacher?" (he's referring to Montanus, by the way) "Who is this new teacher?" who "taught the dissolution of marriage, imposed laws of fasting, and established exactors of money under the name of offerings devised to procure presents that his church might grow strong by gormandizing and gluttony." of Chapter 18.
So we have an instance of a prophetess prophesying for money, a teacher teaching for money, and by the end of this podcast you'll hear about pastor/bishop figure running a church for money. And so the theme is that this concept of asking for offerings and collecting money isn't actually okay. Making me question where are tithes should go. But I suspect the answer to that question is: to the widows and orphans. However, I'm hoping Eusebius will eventually state it outright by the end of his writings.
The last paragraph of chapter 18 mentions other heresies perpetrated by this cult. I don't view that as relevant to our time so I'll skip it.
The purpose of Chapter 19 is to strengthen the case made in chapter 18 against the heresy (the one that I just described). It introduces agreement from other bishops in a sort of petition form, with names and statements affixed by these men agreeing that the cult of Montanus and his prophetesses was evil and not to be tolerated.
Chapter 20 re-uses the word schism that I defined in the prior podcast, which means church split. And so in that context we learn that Justin Iranaeus the historian who studied and disputed most of the heresies wrote an epistle to Blastus On Schisms, another to Florinus on Sovereignty in which he declared that God is not the author of evil. And so these are letters he sent to the leaders of these cults and heresies debating the messages they were proclaiming. You can imagine how popular that made him.
And then afterwards we learn about something he did that was rather clever. He assumed that his writings would live on and that someone would eventually translate them either into another language or into a modern translation. And so he left the translator this note:
"I adjure thee, whoever thou art, that transcribest this book, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by his glorious appearance, when he shall come to judge the quick and dead, to compare what thou last copied, and to correct it by this original manuscript, from which thou hast carefully transcribed. And that thou also copy this adjuration, and insert it to the copy."
So he was concerned about sloppiness and drift, which is the achilles heal of gossip. Where the more a message is translated and re-stated and paraphrased, the less it resembles the original or conveys the intended meaning. And so I'll confess that I have been paraphrasing his words, but I believe I've done so honestly and for the sake of summarizing and modernizing the message. And so if you want Justin's words exactly as he wrote them, you should consider buying a book with his translated writings bearing the inscription I just read to you.
In his epistle to Florinus he boldly told him that his doctrines to say the least are not of a sound understanding. They are inconsistent with the church, and calculated to thrust those that follow them into the greatest impiety. And then he went on to say: I was with Polycarp, who was with the apostles. Meaning he studied under the man who studied under the apostles... and I know what you're saying and I disagree with you vehemently. I'll let you hear a summary of his conclusion in this regard. He said, had Polycarp heard your doctrine, "he would have fled from the place in which he sat or stood hearing doctrines like these."
If you've listened to my earlier podcasts then you understand that the explanation for such a reaction is that the apostles feared that when they ran into a man communicating devilish doctrines, they expected God to strike them down with lightning or to cause the earth to swallow him whole and so they didn't want to be anywhere near them.
Chapter 21 indicates that during the reign of Commodus, peace prevailed throughout the churches and people were receiving Christ. However, Eusebius indicated that this provoked the devil who plotted various devises against the church including in this case: the marytrdom of Apollonius.
And so the chapter continues to describe that situation. Wherein Apollonius was brought to court on charges of being a Christian, which was sufficient to evoke the death penalty. And an important detail, is that when someone was accused of something, they would be acquitted provided they repented. So in this case an acquittal would require Apollinius to renounce his Christian faith, which he wouldn't do. And so if they go into court accused of something and the trial ends and they refuse to repent in order to be acquitted, then they would be forced to pay the penalty, which in this case was death. All of that detail is important because that means that after the charges were explained, the fate of Apollonius was sealed. And yet, Apollonius did such a good job defending himself and speaking that it wasn't the desire of most people to see the death sentence carried out, but it was the law. And so immediately after the death sentence was pronounced, God supernaturally broke both of the arms of his accuser.
Eusebius didn't mention it, but this is in keeping with Psalm 37:17 which says:
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.
Apollinarius delivered an eloquent defense of the faith, but since the penalty for being a Christian was death the sentence was carried out and he was beheaded in the presence of all. I'll read a quick excerpt:
They had a law of longstanding, that those who had once been led to trial and would by no means change their purpose, should not be dismissed.
Chapter 22 logs the succession of the bishops which you can find in the full transcripts for this podcast.
Chapter 23 explains that there was some debate over the keeping of the passover. The churches of Asia believed they should keep the 14th day of the moon, which was the day the Jews were originally commanded to kill the lamb. However, the apostolic tradition held that the fast should be broken on the day of the resurrection of our Savior (three days later). So an epistle edict was unanimously drawn up stating that the mystery of our Lord's resurrection should be celebrated on no other day than the Lord's day, meaning the day of resurrection. And that communication was sent back to Asia.
But in chapter 24 we find out that Asia objected on the grounds that so many people including the apostles themselves had observed the 14th day, which was the day the lamb was killed and so they felt obligated to stick with tradition despite the unanimous declaration from the other churches that they change the day.
Victor the Bishop of Rome became so angry that he declared an excommunication for all the churches in Asia. You have to admire him for taking such a bold position. But he was exhorted by the other churches because not all the bishops shared that sentiment.
It would seem that Justin Iranaues responded that there were other disputes pertaining to the Passover that were not cause for excommunication. And he identified several including:
- How long to fast and
- Whether to celebrate the holiday at all anymore
And then he closed by describing that Polycarp and Anicetus debated over whether to observe the passover and agreed to disagree. Both trying to convince the other and finally deciding that this wasn't a doctrine worth ending their friendship or splitting the church over.
Chapter 25 says that all the bishops of Palestine came into agreement on the celebration of this holiday, which was to celebrate on the day of the Lord's resurrection. And so epistles were sent throughout the churches to bring them all into agreement with each other to settle on one opinion respecting the passover.
Now it is my belief based on my careful reading that this essentially means all the churches outside of Asia settled on the resurrection day. And the churches in Asia remained committed to the fourteenth day which was the day of the slaughter of the lamb. I could be mistaken, but that's what I believe I understand from the writing.
With regard to chapter 26 and 27 I've capture the pertinent points in the Full transcripts for this podcast including the historians and the works they wrote as well as the succession of emperors.
In Chapter 28 we learn that a Bishop named Paul of Samosata worked from inside the church to establish the heresy of Artemon. Which stated that Jesus was just a man and not God. And the heresy argued that this was always known in the church until Victor, the thirteenth bishop of Rome introduced the idea that Jesus was God and so according to them, the truth was mutliated. Eusebius goes to work to disarm this heresy:
He points out that the Scriptures refute the idea that Jesus was just a man. As do old letters still in existence from Justus, Miltiades, and Tatian and Clement. Meaning that the earlier bishops also agreed that Jesus was Lord. So there was sufficient written evidence to debunk this accusation and only those too lazy to confirm the truth would be led astray by the lie. Ironically, Victor had excommunicated the leader of this heresy. Thus revealing the motive behind creating it and accusing Victor of the God-denying apostasy Theodotus created.
And then we come to the last chapter in today's study that challenges the idea of donations in churches. In chapter 18 you will recall that a prophet who accepts or solicits money for prophesies is just a psychic. Eusebius also appeared to frown on the idea of teachers doing this. And finally we have an example of a bishop doing it, but the scenario cited is rather specific. And as such I'll quote most of this in the original text. Here we go:
"I shall remind many of the brethren of a fact, that happened in our days, which, had it happened in Sodom, I think it would have led them to reflection. There was a certain Natalius, who lives not in remote times, but in our own. The man was seduced by , and another Theodotus, a moneychanger. Both of these were disciples of Theodotus the currier, the first that had been excommunicated by Victor. Natalius was persuaded to be created to a bishop of this heresy, with a salary of 150 denarii a month. He was frequently brought to reflection by the Lord in his dreams. For the merciful God and our Lord Jesus Christ, would not that he who had been a witness of his own sufferings, should perish, though he was out of the church. And so yes, this man saw Christ crucified and still pursued this course. He paid little attention to these visions. He was finally lashed by holy Angels the whole night and was thus most severely punished; so that he rose early in the morning, putting on sackcloth and covered with ashes, in great haste, and bathed in tears he fell down before the bishop. He moved the compassionate church of Christ with tears. But he was scarcely admiited to communion.
Then he goes on to describe the heresy and it makes me wonder if the issue is with accepting and soliciting donations, or if the problem is that the heresy was teaching bad doctrine. We know for sure the bad doctrine was a problem. And so I'll describe that to you now:
They (speaking of the heretics) abandon the holy Scriptures for the study of geometry. They know not him that comes from above. They fearlessly lay their hands upon the holy Scriptures, saying that they have corrected them. Should anyone collect and compare their copies with one another, he would find them greatly at variance among themselves. You will find them widely different. What alternative is there but to pronounce them demoniacs. Under the pretext of grace they sunk down to the lowest deapths of perdition.
For those who may not know: the Bible mentions stiff penalties for adding, changing or removing anything from the Scriptures for obivious reasons. Hence the accusation that these people were demoniacs.
And that brings us to the end of Book 5.
I am impressed you've made it this far in the study. I'm told most Christians don't even read their Bibles. And so the fact that you have made it to part 12 of this study says a lot about you.
Have a brilliant week! and Y'all come back now! Ya hear?
Full Transcript Part 13