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! 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?