Title: Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History Part 8
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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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?