Title: Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History
Plot: Most Christians have heard Peter was crucified upside down, but do you know how you know? Because of Eusebius! The man who in 300 AD collected all the writings from the time of Christ to his day, organizing them, assessing their authenticity, and making a history. His work earned him the title, the father of church history!
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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. 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. 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 we do! Some of us do! And you're about to become one of them, my friend. If you aren't already.
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. 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? 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 that God did for us as proof that your religion is true. 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. 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 that he did with us?
Are we Christians expecting the Jews to keep our history, for us? Are we really that lazy and ungrateful? I mean, 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 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. 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. that is.
Do you know who Polycarp is? He is one of our heroes of the faith. Like Shadrack, Meshak and Abednego he survived the fire. 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. You'll be surprised at how refreshing this history is
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 was 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 when I remembered that when Jesus was on the earth he quoted from the Septuagint version of the Bible which is 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 that 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 that 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.
Well 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. You'll want to learn this material.
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 go to the transcript, where you'll see the spelling of the names, the links, the sources, 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.
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 'em 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 that 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. He says:
“It is my intention 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.
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 on 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?