Harmony of the Gospel (Conservative Version) shorter form Chapters 43-49

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Introduction

Index

Forty-three

Chapter 43 Historical texts
Bible text

After two years, Paul was released. Some would add the following text:

And Paul, full of the blessings of Christ, and abounding in the spirit, departed from Rome, determined to go into Spain, for he had for a long time proposed to journey there, and was also minded to go from there to Britain. For he had heard in Phoenicia that some of the descendants of Israel, about the time of the Assyrian exile, had escaped by sea to "the isles afar off" as spoken by the Prophet, and called by the Romans "Britain"; and the Lord commanded the Gospel be preached far away to the Gentiles and to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.


Now, it is written in the end of the Prophet Isaiah at the time of the Assyrians:

"I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles."

Having read this, we now continue:


And no one hindered Paul; for he testified boldly about Jesus before the tribunes and among the people. And he took with him some of the brothers who stayed with him at Rome, and they took ship at Ostrium, and having fair winds, were brought safely into a harbor of Spain.
Many people gathered together from the towns and villages, and the hill country; for they had heard of the conduct of the Apostles, and the many miracles, which he had worked. And Paul preached powerfully in Spain, and a great multitude believed and were converted, for they perceived that he was an Apostle sent from God.
Then they departed from Spain. And Paul and his company finding a ship in Armorica sailing to Britain, they entered; and passing along the south coast, they reached a port called Raphinus.
Now when word spread that the Apostle had landed on their coast, huge crowds of the inhabitants met him, and they treated Paul with courtesy and he entered in at the east gate of their city, and he lodged at the house of a Hebrew, and one of his own tribe in Israel.
And the next day he came and stood on Mount Lud, and the people thronged around the gate. And they believed the word and testimony about Jesus. And at evening the Holy Ghost fell upon Paul, and he prophesied, saying, "Behold, in the last days the God of peace will dwell in the cities, and their inhabitants shall be counted; and in the seventh census of the people, their eyes will be opened, and the glory of their heritage shine out before them. The nations shall come to worship on the mount that testifies to the patience and longsuffering of a servant of the Lord. And in the latter days new reports of the gospel will come forth from Jerusalem, and the hearts of the people will rejoice, and behold, fountains shall open, and there shall be no more plague. In those days there will be wars and rumor of war; and a king shall rise up, and his sword shall be for the healing of the nations, and his peacemaking shall remain, and the glory of his kingdom be a wonder among princes."
And it happened that some of the Druids came to Paul privately, and showed by their rites and ceremonies that they were descended from the Jews who escaped from bondage in the land of Egypt; and the Apostle believed these things, and he gave them the kiss of peace. And Paul remained in his lodgings three months confirming in the faith, and preaching Christ continually.
After these things, Paul and his brothers departed from Raphinus and sailed to Atium in Gaul. And Paul preached in the Roman garrison and among the people, urging all men to repent and confess all their sins. And there came to him some of the Belgae to inquire from him about the new doctrine and the man Jesus; and Paul opened his heart to them and told them everything that had happened to him, how it is that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; and they departed deeply discussing among themselves the things they had heard.
And after much preaching and labor, Paul and his fellow workers went into Helvetia, and came to Mount Pontius Pilate, where he who had condemned the Lord Jesus had thrown himself down headlong and so miserably perished; and instantly a torrent had gushed out of the mountain and washed his body, broken in pieces, into a lake. And Paul stretched out his hands over the water, and prayed to the Lord, saying, "O Lord God, give a sign to all nations that here Pontius Pilate, who condemned your only-begotten Son, plunged down headlong into the pit."
While Paul was still speaking, behold, a great earthquake came, and the surface of the water and the shape of the lake was changed, into a likeness of the Son of Man hanging in agony on the Cross. And a voice came from heaven, saying, "Even Pilate has escaped the wrath to come, for he washed his hands before the crowd at the shedding of the blood of the Lord Jesus."
Therefore, when Paul and those who were with him saw the earthquake, and heard the voice of the angel, they glorified God, and were greatly strengthened in the spirit.
And they journeyed on and came to Mount Julius in Rome where two pillars stood, one on the right hand and one on the left hand of the way, erected by Caesar Augustus. Then Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, stood up between the two pillars, saying, "Men and brothers, these stones which you see this day shall testify to my journey here; and I truly say, they shall remain up to the outpouring of the spirit upon all Israel's tribes, neither shall the way be obstructed throughout all generations."
And they went forward and came to Illitricum, intending to go past Macedonia into Asia; and grace was found in all the assemblies, and they prospered and had peace. Amen!

Isaiah 66:19

see notes
skip to next chapter

Forty-four

Chapter 44 Historical texts
Bible texts

The holy Apostles and disciples of our Savior, being scattered over the whole world, Thomas, according to tradition, received Parthia as his allotted region; Andrew received Scythia, and John, Asia Minor. Peter appears to have preached through Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia, to the Jews that were scattered abroad; who also, finally came to Rome in the days of Claudius, opposed the seducing spirits and doctrines of Simon Magus and his followers, and shepherded the Assembly there. You have also heard of the departure of Paul from the city of Rome when he journeyed on to Spain. Thus, from Jerusalem, even to Illyricum, Paul had fully preached the Gospel, and had Taught even imperial Rome, and carried the earnest persuasiveness of his preaching as far as Spain, undergoing innumerable conflicts, and doing signs and wonders.

Now, after preaching in Spain, when Paul was going to Macedonia, he urged Timothy to remain at Ephesus to charge certain people to not Teach any different doctrine, nor to occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies, that is, with Jewish legends and spurious pedigrees added by false Judaizers to the Biblical scriptures.

Paul left Titus in Crete, that he might correct what was defective. He directed him to appoint Presbyters in every town, and Episcopes, blameless, hospitable, lovers of goodness, masters of themselves, upright, holy, self-controlled, holding firmly to the sure word as Taught, so that they may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also prove wrong those who contradict it.

Then after Paul had been in Rome, he returned to Spain, but whether he came from there again into these parts, we do not know.

Paul afterward wrote to Timothy in Ephesus, so that if he was delayed in coming to him, Timothy might certainly know how one ought to behave in the household of God, the Assembly, the pillar and foundation of truth, attending to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, and to Teaching, holding to it; for by so doing he will save both himself and his hearers from the wrath to come on the ungodly. He wrote the following letter:


Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and Christ Jesus our confident expectation; to Timothy, my true child in faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
As I urged you when I was going into Macedonia, stay at Ephesus that you might command certain men not to Teach a different doctrine, and not to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause disputes, rather than God’s stewardship, which is in faith—but the goal of this command is love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith; from which things some, having missed the mark, have turned aside to making empty noise; desiring to be Teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor about what they strongly affirm. But we know that the law of Moses is good, if a man uses it lawfully, as knowing this, that the law is not laid down and established for a righteous man, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for man slayers, for the sexually immoral, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and for any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine; according to the Good News of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he counted me faithful, appointing me to service; although I was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and insolent. However, I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. The grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. The saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the cosmos to save sinners; of whom I am chief. However, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first, Jesus Christ might display all his patience, for an example of those who were going to believe in him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
This instruction I commit to you, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies which led the way to you, that by them you may wage the good warfare; holding faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust away made a shipwreck concerning the faith; of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I delivered to Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme.
I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and givings of thanks, be made for all men: for kings and all who are in high places; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all; testimony to this being given in its own proper time; to which I was appointed a preacher and an Apostle (I am telling the truth in Christ, not lying), a Teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
I desire therefore that the men in every place pray, lifting up holy hands without anger and doubting. In the same way, that women also adorn themselves in decent clothing, with modesty and propriety; not just with braided hair, gold, pearls, or expensive clothing; but (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works. Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. But I do not permit a woman to Teach nor to usurp authority over a man, but to be in quietness. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, has fallen into disobedience; but she will be saved through her childbearing, if they continue in faith, love, and sanctification with sobriety.
This is a faithful saying: if a man seeks the office of an Episcopos, he desires a good work. The Episcopos therefore must be without reproach, married no more than once, temperate, sensible, modest, hospitable, good at Teaching; not a drinker, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having children in subjection with all reverence; (but if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the Assembly of God?) not a new convert, lest being puffed up he fall into the same condemnation as the Devil. Moreover he must have good testimony from those who are outside, to avoid falling into reproach and the snare of the Devil.
Deacons, in the same way, must be reverent, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for money; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. Let them also first be tested; then let them serve if they are blameless. Their wives in the same way must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let Deacons be married no more than once, ruling their children and their own houses well. For those who have served well gain for themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
These things I write to you, hoping to come to you shortly; but if I wait long, that you may know how men ought to behave themselves in God’s house, which is the Assembly of the living God, the pillar and ground of the Truth. Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great:
God was revealed in the flesh,
justified in the spirit,
seen by angels,
preached among the nations,
believed on in the world,
and received up in glory.
But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron; forbidding marriage and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with thanksgiving. For it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer. If you instruct the brothers of these things, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished in the words of the faith, and of the good doctrine which you have followed. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables. Exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise has some value, but godliness has value in all things, having the promise of the life which is now, and of that which is to come. This saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we have set our trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. Command and Teach these things.
Let no man despise your youth; but be an example to those who believe, in word, in your way of life, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. Before I come, pay attention to reading, to exhortation, and to Teaching. Do not neglect the charism that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the Presbyters. Be diligent in these things. Give yourself wholly to them, that your progress may be revealed to all. Pay attention to yourself, and to your Teaching. Continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
Do not rebuke a Presbyter, but exhort him as a Father; the younger men as Brothers; the elder women as Mothers; the younger as Sisters, in all purity. Honor widows who are widows indeed. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them learn first to show piety toward their own family, and to repay their parents, for this is acceptable in the sight of God. Now she who is a widow indeed, and desolate, has her confident expectation set on God, and continues in petitions and prayers night and day. But she who gives herself to pleasure is dead while she lives. Also command these things, that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. Let no one be enrolled as a widow under sixty years old, having been married only once, being approved by good works, if she has brought up children, if she has been hospitable to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, and if she has diligently followed every good work.
But refuse younger widows, for when they have grown wanton against Christ, they desire to marry; having condemnation, because they have rejected their first pledge. Besides, they also learn to be idle, going about from house to house. Not only idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. I desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, and give no occasion to the adversary for insulting. For already some have turned aside after Satan. If any man or woman who believes has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the Assembly be burdened; that it might relieve those who are widows indeed.
Let the Presbyters who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and in Teaching. For the Scripture says,
“You shall not muzzle the ox when it treads out the grain.”
And,
“The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
Do not receive an accusation against a Presbyter, except at the word of two or three witnesses. Those who sin, reprove in the sight of all, that the rest also may be in fear. I command you in the sight of God, and Christ Jesus, and the chosen angels, that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands hastily on no one, neither be a participant in other men’s sins. Keep yourself pure. Be no longer a drinker of water only, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.
Some men’s sins are evident, preceding them to judgment, and some also follow later. In the same way also there are good works that are obvious, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.
Let as many as are bondservants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brothers, but rather let them serve them, because those who partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. Teach and exhort these things.
If anyone Teaches a different doctrine, and does not consent to sound words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is conceited, knowing nothing, but obsessed with arguments, disputes, and word battles, from which come envy, strife, insulting, evil suspicions, constant friction of people of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. Withdraw yourself from such.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything out. But having food and clothing, we will be content with that. But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you confessed the good confession in the sight of many witnesses. I command you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate testified the good confession, that you keep the commandment without spot, blameless, before the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; which in its own times he will show, who is the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and eternal power. Amen.
Charge those who are rich in this present world that they not be haughty, nor have their confident expectation set on the uncertainty of riches, but on the living God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold of eternal life.
Timothy, guard that which is committed to you, turning away from the empty chatter and oppositions of what is falsely called knowledge; which some profess, and thus have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.


After traveling throughout the region, Paul decided to spend the winter in Nicopolis. He wrote the following letter to Titus:


Paul, a servant of God, and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s chosen ones, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in confident expectation of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began; but in his own time revealed his word in the message with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior; to Titus, my true child according to a common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
I left you in Crete for this reason, that you would set in order the things that were lacking, and appoint Presbyters in every city, as I directed you; if anyone is blameless, married no more than once, having children who believe, who are not accused of loose or unruly behavior. For the Episcopos must be blameless, as God’s steward; not self-pleasing, not easily angered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain; but given to hospitality, a lover of good, sober minded, fair, holy, self-controlled; holding to the faithful word which is according to the Teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict those who contradict him.
For there are also many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped; men who overthrow whole houses, Teaching things which they ought not, for dishonest gain’s sake. One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and idle gluttons.” This testimony is true. For this cause, reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess that they know God, but by their deeds they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.
But say the things which fit sound doctrine, that older men should be temperate, sensible, sober minded, sound in faith, in love, and in patience: and that older women likewise be reverent in behavior, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, Teachers of that which is good; that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sober minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that God’s word may not be blasphemed.
Likewise, exhort the younger men to be sober minded; in all things showing yourself an example of good works; in your Teaching showing integrity, seriousness, incorruptibility, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned; that he who opposes you may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say about us. Exhort servants to be in subjection to their own masters, and to be well-pleasing in all things; not contradicting; not stealing, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior, in all things.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we would live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for the blessed expectation and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good works. Say these things and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no man despise you.
Remind them to be in subjection to rulers and to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all humility toward all men. For we were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the confident expectation of eternal life.
This saying is faithful, and concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men; but shun foolish questionings, genealogies, strife, and disputes about the law of Moses; for they are unprofitable and vain. Avoid a factious man, a heretic, after a first and second warning; knowing that such a one is perverted and sins, being self-condemned.
When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me to Nicopolis, for I have determined to winter there. Send Zenas, the lawyer, and Apollos on their journey speedily, that nothing may be lacking for them. Let our people also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they may not be unfruitful.
All who are with me greet you.
Greet those who love us in faith.
Grace be with you all. Amen.

Titus 1:5, 7-9 adapted
1 Timothy 3:14b-15 adapted
1 Timothy
Titus 3:12b adapted
Titus

see notes

Forty-five

Chapter 45 Historical texts
Bible text

Now this is the doctrinal instruction called "The Teaching of the Lord by the Twelve Apostles to the Nations", also called in Greek the "Didache", which means "doctrine".

There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death; but there is a great difference between the two Ways.
Now the Way of Life is this: First, You shall love God who made you; secondly, your neighbor as yourself; and all things whatever you would not have done to you, you neither do to another.
Now the Teaching of these two words of the Lord is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you; for what thanks is there if you love those who love you? Do not even Gentiles the same? But love those who hate you, and you shall not have an enemy.
Abstain from fleshly and bodily worldly lusts. If any one gives you a blow on the right cheek turn to him the other also, and you shall be perfect. If any one compels you to go with him one mile, go with him two; if any one takes away your cloak, give him also your tunic; if any one takes from you what is yours, ask not for it back, as indeed you cannot.
Give to every one who asks you, and ask not back, for the Father wills that from our own blessings we should give to all. Blessed is he who gives according to the commandment, for he is guiltless. Woe to him who receives; for if any one receives, having need, he shall be guiltless, but he who has no need shall give account, why he received and for what purpose, and coming into distress he shall be strictly examined concerning his deeds, and he shall not come out from there before he has paid the last cent.
But concerning this also it has been said, "Let your alms sweat in your hands before you know to whom you should give."
And the second commandment of the Teaching is:
You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery; you shalt not corrupt boys; you shall not commit fornication. You shalt not steal. You shall not use witchcraft; you shall not practice sorcery. You shalt not procure abortion, nor shall you kill the new-born child. You shall not covet thy neighbor's goods.
You shall not falsely swear. You shall not bear false witness. You shall not speak evil; you shalt not bear malice. You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued; for duplicity in speech is a snare of death. Your speech shall not be false, nor vain, but fulfilled by deed.
You shall not be covetous, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor malignant, nor haughty. You shalt not make evil plans against your neighbor. You shall not hate any one, but some you shall rebuke and for some you shall pray, and some you shall love above your own soul, your life.
My child, flee from every evil, and from every thing that resembles it. Be not prone to anger, for anger leads to murder; nor given to partisan spirit, nor contentious, nor quick-tempered, or passionate; for from all these things murders are generated.
My child, be not lustful, for lust leads to fornication; neither be a filthy talker, nor an eager gazer, for from all these adulteries are generated.
My child, be not a watcher of birds for divination for it leads to idolatry; nor a charmer or enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a purifier, a user of spells of purifications or expiations, nor be willing to look on those things; for from all these idolatry is generated.
My child, be not a liar, for lying leads to theft; nor avaricious, nor vainglorious, for from all these things thefts are generated.
My child, be not a grumbler, for it leads to blasphemy; neither presumptuously self-willed, nor evil-minded, for from all these things blasphemies are generated. But be meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth. Be long-suffering, and merciful, and harmless, and quiet, and good, and trembling continually at the words which you have heard.
You shall not exalt yourself, nor shall you assume presumptuous audacity in your soul. Your soul shall not be joined to the lofty, but with the just and lowly shall you converse.
The events that befall you you shalt accept as good, knowing that nothing happens without God.
My child, you shall remember night and day him who speaks to you the word of God, and you shalt honor him as the Lord, for where the Lordship is spoken of, there is the Lord. And you shall seek out day by day the faces of the saints, that you may rely on their words.
You shall not desire division, but shall make peace between those who have a bitter quarrel. You shall judge justly; you shall not respect any persons in rebuking them for transgressions. You shall not be double-minded or doubtful in your mind whether it should be or not.
Be not one of those who stretches out his hands for receiving, but draws them back for giving. If you have anything, you shall give with your hands as a ransom for your sins. You shall not hesitate to give, nor in giving shall you grumble, for then you shall know who is the good recompenser of the reward. You shall not turn away him who needs, but shall share all things with your brother, and shall not say that they are your own; for if you are fellow-sharers in that which is imperishable, how much more in perishable things?
You shall not withhold your hand from your son or from your daughter, but from their youth up you shalt Teach them the reverent fear of God.
You shall not in your bitterness lay commands on your man-servant, your bondman, or your maid-servant, your bondwoman, who have confident expectation in the same God, lest they should lose reverence for Him who is God over you both; for He comes not to call men according to the condition of their outward appearance, but he comes on those whom the Spirit has prepared.
But you, bondmen, servants, shall be subject to your own, our Christian masters, as to the image of God in modest reverence and fear.
You shall hate all hypocrisy, and everything that is not pleasing to the Lord. You shall not ignore the commandments of the Lord, but you shall keep what you have received, neither adding to them nor taking away from them.
In the Assembly you shall confess your transgressions, and you shall not come to your prayers with an evil conscience.
This is the way of life.
But the way of death is this:
First of all it is evil and full of curse; murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, witchcrafts, sorceries, robberies, false-witnessings, hypocrisies, double-heartedness, deceit, pride, wickedness, self-will, covetousness, filthy-talking, jealousy, presumption, haughtiness, boastfulness. Persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing the reward of righteousness, not holding to that which is good nor to righteous judgment, alert not for that which is good but for that which is evil; those from whom meekness and endurance is far off, loving vanity, seeking for reward, not pitying the poor, not toiling with him who is grieved with toil, not knowing Him Who made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from the needy, grieving the afflicted, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, wholly sinful.
May you, children, be delivered from all these.
Take care that no one leads you astray from this Way of Teaching, since he Teaches you apart from God. For if indeed you are able to bear the whole yoke of the Lord you shall be perfect; but if you are not able, do what you can.
And as regards food, bear what you can, but against idol-offerings be exceedingly on your guard, for it is a serving of dead gods.
Now concerning Baptism, baptize this way: Having first Taught all these things, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in flowing water. And if you have no flowing water, baptize in other water; and if you cannot in cold, then in warm water.
But if you have neither, pour water three times on the head in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. But before Baptism let the baptizer and the baptized fast, and any others who can; but you shall command the baptized to fast for one or two days before.
Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week; but you shall fast on the fourth day, Wednesday, and the preparation day, Friday. Neither pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, so pray: "Our Father, who are in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the power and the glory for ever."
Pray this way three times a day.
Now as regards the Eucharist, give thanks after this manner:
First for the cup:
"We give thanks to You, our Father, for the holy Vine of David Your servant, which you have made known to us through Jesus, Your servant: to You be the glory for ever."
And for the broken bread:
"We give thanks to You, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You have made known to us through Jesus, Your servant: to You be the glory for ever. As this broken bread was scattered on the mountains and gathered together became one, so let Your Assembly be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Your kingdom, for Yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever."
But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, except those baptized into the name of the Lord; for as regards this also the Lord has said: "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."
Now after being filled, give thanks after this manner:
"We thank You, Holy Father, for Your Holy Name, which You have caused to dwell as in a tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which You have made known to us through Jesus Your Servant, to You be the glory for ever. You, O, Almighty Sovereign, did make all things for Your Name's sake; You gave food and drink to men for enjoyment that they might give thanks to You; but to us You did freely give spiritual food and drink and eternal life through Your Servant.
"Before all things we give thanks to You that You are mighty; to You be the glory for ever.
"Remember, O Lord, Your Assembly to deliver her from all evil and to perfect her in Your love; and gather her together from the four winds, sanctified for Your kingdom which You have prepared for her; for Yours is the power and the glory for ever.
"Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David. If any one is holy let him come, if any one is not holy let him repent. Maranatha. Amen."
But permit the Prophets to give thanks in words as much as they wish.
Whosoever then comes and Teaches you all the things aforesaid, receive him. But if the Teacher himself being perverted Teaches another Teaching to the destruction of this Teaching, hear him not, but if he Teach to the increase of righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.
Now with regard to the Apostles and Prophets, according to the decree of the Good News, as the Good News commands so do.
Let every Apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord Himself. But he shall not remain longer than one day; and, if need be, another day also; but if he remain three days he is a false prophet. And when the Apostle departs, let him take nothing except enough bread to sustain him before he reaches his night's lodging. But if he asks for money, he is a false prophet. And every Prophet who speaks in the spirit you shall not test or prove; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven.
Not every one who speaks in the spirit is a Prophet, but only if he has the conduct of the Lord. By their behavior then shall the false prophet and the true Prophet be known. And no Prophet who orders a table of food in the spirit eats from it himself, unless he is a false prophet. And every Prophet who Teaches the truth, if he does not practice what he Teaches, is a false prophet. And every approved, genuine Prophet, who calls gatherings for a worldly mystery, but does not Teach others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged by you; for he has his judgment from the hand of God; for so did the ancient Prophets also.
But whosoever says in the spirit: Give me money or any other thing, you shall not listen to him; but if he bids you to give for others who lack, let no one judge him.
Let every one who comes in the name of the Lord be received, and then proving him you shall thus know him; for you shall have discernment right and left. If he who comes is truly homeless, help him as much as you can; but he shall not remain with you longer than two or three days, unless there is a real need. If he wishes to settle among you, being a craftsman, let him work and eat, earning his living by work. But if he has no trade, provide according to your understanding so that no Christian shall live idly among you. And if he will not act this way he is a Christ-trafficker. Beware of such. But every true Prophet who wishes to settle among you is worthy of his food. Likewise a true Teacher is himself worthy, like the workman, of his food.
Therefore you shall take and give all the first-fruits of the produce of the wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and sheep, to the Prophets; for they are your chief-priests. But if you have no Prophet, give to the poor.
If you prepare bread, take the first fruit and give according to the commandment. Likewise when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the first-fruit and give to the Prophets. And from silver, and raiment, and every possession, take the first-fruit, as may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment. And on the Lord's Day of the Lord come together, and break bread, and give thanks, having confessed your transgressions before participating, that your sacrifice may be pure.
Let no one who has a dispute with his fellow-believer come together with you before they are reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be defiled. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord:
"In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the Gentiles."
Therefore elect for yourselves Episcopes and Deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful, and approved; for they too minister to you the ministry of the Prophets and Teachers. Therefore do not despise them, for they are those who are the honored men among you with the Prophets and Teachers.
And do not with wrath reprove one another, but in peace, as you have heard in the Gospel; and let no one talk with any one who transgresses against another, nor let him hear a word from you before he repents. But so perform your prayers and alms and all your actions as you have heard in the Gospel of our Lord.
Watch over your life; let not your lamps go out and let not your belts be unloosed, but be ready; for you know not the hour in which our Lord comes. But be frequently gathered together, seeking the things that are profitable for your souls; for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you unless in the final time you are found perfect.
For in the last days the false prophets and destroyers shall multiply, and the sheep shall turn into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate. For when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute, and deliver up one another; and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall commit iniquities which have never before been committed from the beginning of the world. And then shall the race of men come to the fire of trial, and many shall be offended by their faith and shall perish; but they who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself.
And then shall appear the signs of the truth: first the sign of opening in heaven; then the sign of the voice of the trumpet; and the third, the resurrection of the dead. Not, however, of all, but as was said, "The Lord shall come, and all the saints with him."
Then shall the world see the Lord coming on the clouds of heaven.


Now this is the Statement of Faith according to the Old Roman Creed in the first century:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ His Only Son our Lord, who was born of the Holy Ghost and Virgin Mary; crucified under Pontius Pilate, and buried; the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost; the holy Church; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; the life everlasting.


While Peter was Teaching in Rome during the reign of Nero he was taken and imprisoned. And he knew that the putting off of his body would be soon, as our Lord Jesus showed him. And he wrote this Encyclical letter:


Simon Peter, a servant and Apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a like precious faith with Us in the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, seeing that his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and virtue; by which he has granted to us his precious and exceedingly great promises; that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust. Yes, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, to your faith supply moral excellence; and to moral excellence, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly affection; and to brotherly affection, love. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins.
Therefore, brothers, be more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble. For thus you will be richly supplied with the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Therefore I will not be negligent to remind you of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present Truth. I think it right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you; knowing that the putting off of my tent comes swiftly, even as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. Yes, I will make every effort even after my departure that you may always be able to remember these things. For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” We heard this voice come out of heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
We have the more sure word of prophecy; and you do well that you heed it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, before the day dawns, and the morning star arises in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit.
But false prophets also arose among the people, as false Teachers will also be among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction. Many will follow their immoral ways, and as a result, the Way of the Truth will be maligned. In covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words: whose sentence now from of old does not linger, and their destruction will not slumber. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was very distressed by the lustful life of the wicked (for that righteous man dwelling among them, was tormented in his righteous soul from day to day with seeing and hearing lawless deeds): then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment; but chiefly those who walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries; whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not bring a railing judgment against them before the Lord. But these, as unreasoning creatures, born natural animals to be taken and destroyed, speaking evil in matters about which they are ignorant, will in their destroying surely be destroyed, receiving the wages of unrighteousness; people who count it pleasure to revel in the daytime, spots and defects, reveling in their deceit while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery, and who cannot cease from sin; enticing unsettled souls; having a heart trained in greed; children of cursing; forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of wrongdoing; but he was rebuked for his own disobedience. A mute donkey spoke with a man’s voice and stopped the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever. For, uttering great swelling words of emptiness, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by licentiousness, those who are indeed escaping from those who live in error; promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for a man is brought into bondage by whatever overcomes him.
For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in it and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb,
The dog turns to his own vomit again,”
and
the sow that has washed to wallowing in the mire.”
This is now, beloved, the second letter that I have written to you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by reminding you; that you should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandments of us, the Apostles of the Lord and Savior: knowing this first, that in the last days mockers will come, walking after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” For this they willfully forget, that there were heavens from of old, and an earth formed out of water and amid water, by the word of God; by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore since all these things will be destroyed like this, what kind of people ought you to be in holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the Day of God, which will cause the burning heavens to be dissolved, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, seeing that you look for these things, be diligent to be found in peace, without defect and blameless in his sight. Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; even as Our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote to you; as also in all of his letters, speaking in them of these things. In those, there are some things that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unsettled twist, as they also do to the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware, lest being carried away with the error of the wicked, you fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.


Eusebius long afterward wrote that Peter appears to have preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia to the Jews of the dispersion. And at last, having come to Rome, and finally being imprisoned, he was crucified head-downward; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way.

Peter's hearers pleaded with Mark to leave a written summary of the Teaching of Peter, since he was a follower of Peter. The Apostle was pleased with their enthusiasm to have a written account of the Good News. Eusebius the Christian historian states that this same Mark is mentioned in Peter's first letter, and that it was composed in Rome, witnesses testifying that he indicated this city figuratively with the words,

"Your sister church in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark."

Papias relates the tradition from John that Mark, becoming and being the interpreter of Peter, wrote down and recorded with great accuracy, but not, though, in order, whatever he remembered of the things spoken or done by our Lord. For he neither heard nor followed our Lord, but afterward, he followed in company with Peter; who gave him such instruction as necessary, but not in order to give a sequenced history of our Lord's utterances; who adapted his Teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses; and for this reason Mark has not erred in any detail, and committed no error while thus writing some things as he has remembered and recorded them. For he was carefully attentive to one thing, not to omit or pass by any thing which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely in these accounts.

Now Matthew had already produced his Gospel written among the Hebrews in their own dialect. So then Matthew composed his history giving the oracles of the Lord Jesus in the Hebrew language, and every one translated and interpreted them as he was able, while Peter and Paul proclaimed the Good News and founded the Assembly at Rome. After the departure of these, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also passed on to us in writing what had been preached by Peter, his account of "the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God", and he approved the reading of the book in the assemblies.

The Gospel According to Mark chapters 1 through 10
The Gospel According to Mark chapters 11 through 16

Peter's hearers had pleaded with Mark to leave a written summary of the Teaching of Peter, since he was a follower of Peter. The Apostle was pleased with their enthusiasm to have a written account of the Good News and he approved the reading of the book in the assemblies.

And Luke, the companion of Paul, committed to writing the Gospel preached by Paul; and he added a second treatise on the spreading of the Gospel of Christ through the Acts of the Apostles by the descent in power of the Holy Spirit and his testimony to the truth in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. Both of these volumes by the evangelist Luke may be read together with profit as a single account of the history of the beginning of the perpetual establishment of the Holy Assembly of God's Church on earth, his Dwelling among men.

The Gospel According to Luke chapters 1 through 9
The Gospel According to Luke chapters 10 through 21
The Gospel According to Luke chapters 22 through 24
The Acts of the Apostles chapters 1 through 13
The Acts of the Apostles chapters 14 through 26
The Acts of the Apostles chapters 27 through 28

Nero was now in the eighth year of his reign in Rome, A.D. 62, when Saint Mark the Evangelist was dragged in the streets of Alexandria, and then beheaded, and Annianus in Egypt succeeded the Apostle and evangelist Mark as Episcopos in the administration of the Assembly at Alexandria. He was a man distinguished for his piety, and admirable in every respect.

When Festus died in A.D. 62, Nero Caesar sent Albinus to Judea as procurator. But before he arrived, King Agrippa quickly appointed Ananus, a man inclined to rashness, to the high priesthood. He was a son of the elder Ananus called Annas, the same Annas before whom Christ Jesus was brought after he was taken in the Garden of Gethsemane. This elder Annas, after having been high priest, had five sons, all of whom achieved that office, which was unparalleled. This younger Ananus with characteristic rashness followed the Sadducees, who were heartless when they sit in judgment. With Festus dead and Albinus still on the way Ananus thought he had his opportunity. He convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them James, the brother of Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One, and certain other men, whom he accused of transgressing the law, and condemned them to be stoned to death. The Pharisees, upset at St. James' teachings, first threw him from the summit of the Temple in Jerusalem, then stoned him, and at last broke his skull with a fuller's club.

The people of Jerusalem who were considered most fair-minded and strict in observing the law were offended. They privately urged King Agrippa to order Ananus to desist from any further such actions. Some of them even went to meet Albinus on his way from Alexandria, and informed him that without his permission Ananus had no authority to convene the Sanhedrin. Albinus angrily wrote to Ananus, threatening vengeance for this.

King Agrippa then deposed Ananus from the high priesthood, which he had held for three months, and replaced him with Jesus, son of Damnaeus, and after him Jesus son of Gamaliel. As a result these two high priests feuded, and typical of the lawless confusion in the city their supporters threw stones at each other. Nero then sent Gessius Florus the destroyer as successor to Albinus.

When Albinus heard that Florus was coming to replace him, he cleared the prisons by executing those who deserved death, and after accepting a bribe, he released those who were guilty of lesser offenses. He thus infested the land with brigands. He also stole private property, burdened the nation with excessive taxes, and committed every sort of villainy.

Now while Jerusalem herself was particularly prosperous and peaceful, in A.D. 62, four years before the war and eight years before the Temple was destroyed, a common countryman, Jesus, son of Ananias, a plebeian and an husbandman, a common rustic, came to the Feast of Booths called Tabernacles, which is Sukkoth, at which it was customary for all to make tents at the Temple to the honor of God. He suddenly began shouting 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 the people."

He went through all the alleys day and night shouting this.

Some of the more distinguished citizens, irritated by the ominous cry, seized and beat him with many strokes. But without saying a word to defend himself, or particularly addressing anyone present, he continued to cry out the same message.

The rulers, believing the man was moved by a higher power, which was true, brought him before the Roman governor Albinus. And though he was scourged to the bone, he did not plead or shed tears, but, changing his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, he repeated with each stroke the words, "Woe, woe unto Jerusalem."

The procurator finally dismissed him as a madman; and every day he uttered these lamentable words. He spoke neither ill to those who beat him every day, nor good to those who gave him food; but as if this was his premeditated vow, he gave the same answer to all, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!"

For seven years he continued his melancholy cry in the city, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!"; and his cry was loudest at the festivals.

At the same time, in A.D. 63, the Temple was finally completed, leaving eighteen thousand workers unemployed, although they did pave Jerusalem with white stone. Many who could not hire themselves out as field workers were reduced to poverty. Many in their desperation joined with the brigands and robbers.

1 Peter 5:13
2 Peter 1:14 adapted
2 Peter

see notes


"in A.D. 63, the Temple was finally completed"
end of chapter

See Virtual 3D Tour of Josephus' Temple of Jerusalem (bing.com)


Forty-six

Chapter 46 Bible texts

As Paul journeyed back to Rome, Erastus remained at Corinth. He left Trophimus ill at Miletus, and finally arrived in Rome. While he was there Teaching he was taken and put in chains.

When Onesiphorus arrived in Rome he searched for Paul eagerly and found him. He often refreshed Paul, and he was not ashamed of Paul's chains. He had also previously rendered him service at Ephesus.

At Paul's first defense no one stood with him; all deserted him. All in Asia turned away from him, among them Phygelus and Hermogenes. Demas deserted him and went to Thessalonica, Crescens went to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Paul sent Tychicus to Ephesus. And it seems that Onesiphorus died at this time, for Paul prayed that the Lord grant Onesiphorus to find mercy from the Lord on the Day of the Lord. Luke alone remained with him. But the Lord stood by him and gave him strength to proclaim the word fully, so that all the Gentiles might hear it. And so he was rescued from the lion's mouth.

He wrote the following letter:


Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God, whom I serve as my forefathers did, with a pure conscience, how unceasing is my memory of you in my petitions, night and day longing to see you, remembering your tears, that I may be filled with joy; having been reminded of the sincere faith that is in you; which lived first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and, I am persuaded, in you also.
For this cause, I remind you that you should stir up the charism of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure hardship for the Good News according to the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News. For this, I was appointed as a preacher, an Apostle, and a Teacher of the Gentiles. For this cause I also suffer these things.
Yet I am not ashamed, for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed to him against that day.
Hold the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
This you know, that all who are in Asia turned away from me; of whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain, but when he was in Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me (the Lord grant to him to find the Lord’s mercy in that day); and in how many things he served at Ephesus, you know very well.
You therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit the same to faithful men, who will be able to Teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on duty entangles himself in the affairs of life, that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier. Also, if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he has competed by the rules. The farmers who labor must be the first to get a share of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the offspring of David, according to my Good News, in which I suffer hardship to the point of chains as a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the chosen ones’ sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This saying is trustworthy:
“For if we died with him, we will also live with him.
If we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we deny him, he also will deny us.
If we are faithless, he remains faithful.
He cannot deny himself.”
Remind them of these things, charging them in the sight of the Lord, to avoid arguing about words, to no profit, to the ruin of those who hear.
Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth. But shun godless, empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness. Such talk will eat away like gangrene, of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; men who have swerved aside from the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past and overthrowing the faith of some. However, God’s firm foundation stands, having this seal,
“The Lord knows those who are his,”
and,
“Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.”
Now in a large house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of clay. Some are for honor, and some for dishonor. If anyone therefore purges himself from these, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, and suitable for the master’s use, prepared for every good work.
Flee from youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant questionings, knowing that they generate strife. The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but be gentle toward all, able to Teach, patient, in gentleness correcting those who oppose him: perhaps God may give them repentance leading to a full knowledge of the truth, and they may recover themselves out of the devil’s snare, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
But know this, that in the last days, grievous times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, not lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but denying its power. Turn away from these, also. For some of these are people who creep into houses, and take captive gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Even as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so do these also oppose the truth; men corrupted in mind, who concerning the faith, are rejected. But they will proceed no further. For their folly will be evident to all men, as theirs also came to be.
But you did follow my Teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, steadfastness, persecutions, and sufferings: those things that happened to me at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. I endured those persecutions. The Lord delivered me out of them all. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
But you remain in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them. From infancy, you have known the holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for Teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom: preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and Teaching. For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves Teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the Truth, and turn aside to myths. But you be sober in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry.
For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing. Be diligent to come to me soon, for Demas left me, having loved this present world, and went to Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. But I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. Bring the cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus when you come, and the books, especially the parchments.
Alexander, the coppersmith, did much evil to me. The Lord will repay him according to his deeds, of whom you also must beware; for he greatly opposed our words.
At my first defense, no one came to help me, but all left me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me, that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me for his heavenly Kingdom; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the house of Onesiphorus. Erastus remained at Corinth, but I left Trophimus at Miletus sick. Be diligent to come before winter. Eubulus salutes you, as do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers. The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.


Paul showed by example the prize that is given to patience: seven times was he thrown into chains; he was banished; he was stoned; having become a herald, both in the East and in the West, he obtained the noble renown due to his faith; and having preached righteousness to the whole world, and having come to the extremity of the West, and having borne witness before rulers, he departed at length out of the world under Nero, and went to the holy place, having become the greatest example of patience.

What else needs to be said of Paul, who proclaimed the Gospel from Jerusalem to Illyricum and was afterward martyred in Rome under Nero?

Nero was the first Roman emperor to persecute the doctrine of Christianity, particularly at that time, when, after subduing all the East, he exercised his cruelty against all at Rome. Those who knew him, knew that there was scarcely anything great and good that was not condemned by Nero. Thus announcing himself publicly as the chief enemy of God, he was led on by his fury and the genius of the emperor to slaughter the Apostles. Thus Peter is said to have been crucified under him, and Paul to have been beheaded at Rome.

In 63, the Apostle Matthias, a witness from the beginning of the baptism of the Lord by John the Baptist to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was chosen by the Holy Spirit in place of Judas Iscariot as one of the Twelve, and faithfully preached the Gospel of the Lord, was stoned to death in Jerusalem at the instigation of the Jews, and then beheaded. It is said that after he preached the Gospel in Judea, Matthias preached the Gospel of salvation to barbarians and cannibals in the interior of Ethiopia (that is to say, Colchis), at the harbor of the sea of Hyssus, at the mouth of the river Phasis; and that he was crucified and died at Sebastopolis, and was buried there, near the temple of the Sun.

2 Timothy 4:20 adapted
2 Timothy 4:16-17 adapted
2 Timothy 1:15 adapted
2 Timothy 1:17 adapted
2 Timothy 1:16b adapted
2 Timothy 1:18 adapted
2 Timothy 4:10-12 adapted
2 Timothy 1:16a adapted
2 Timothy

see notes

Forty-seven

Chapter 47 Historical texts

In A.D. 63, while Jesus the son of Ananias continued his melancholy cry in the city, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!", the Jews completed the rebuilding of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, a work which was begun under Herod king of Judea in 27 B.C.. Ninety years was this temple in building, and now it was finished.

Now, according to Josephus, this Temple at the beginning was built upon a strong hill, anciently called Mount Moriah and Mount Zion. The site was anciently a large threshing floor. At first the plain at the top was hardly sufficient for the holy house and the altar, for the area around it was very uneven, and like a precipice, a cliff; but when king Solomon, who built the Temple, had built a wall to it on its east side, there was then added one colonnade or portico founded on an embankment cast up for it, and on the other parts of it the holy house stood exposed; but in following ages afterward the people added new earthworks, new embankments, and the hill became a larger plain. They then broke down the wall on the north side, and included as much as was enough room afterward for the area around the entire Temple; and when they had built walls on the three sides of the Temple round about, from the bottom of the hill, and had performed a work that was greater than could be hoped for (a work of long ages, exhausting also all their sacred treasures, which were constantly replenished by votive offerings sent to God from the whole habitable earth), they then enclosed their upper courts with porticoes, and they afterward did as well with the lowest court of the Temple. The lowest part of this was erected to a height of four hundred twenty-five feet, in some places more; yet the entire depth of the foundations was not visible, for they brought earth, and filled up the valleys, desiring to make them level with the narrow streets of the city; in which they used massive stones of fifty-six and a half feet; for the vast sums of money they then had, and the generosity of the people, made this attempt of theirs succeed to an incredible degree; and what no one had thought could be accomplished, was, by perseverance and length of time, brought to perfection.

Now, the works above those foundations were not unworthy of such foundations; for all the porticoes were double, double colonnades, and the pillars supporting them were thirty-five and a half feet in height, three stories tall. These pillars were each of one whole stone, and that stone was white marble; and the roofs were adorned with cedar, elaborately carved. The natural magnificence, and excellent polish, and the harmony of joints in these porticoes, presented a sight that was very truly remarkable; nor was the outside adorned with the work of any painter or engraver. The porticoes of the outermost court were forty-two and a half feet broad, while its entire encompassing length around by measure was three thousand nine hundred and sixty feet, three quarters of a mile, including the tower of Antonia; and those entire courts open to the air were paved with stones of all kinds.

After going through these first porticoes, to the second court of the Temple, there was a stone partition all around it, whose height was four and a quarter feet: its construction was very elegant; upon it stood pillars, equidistant from each other, declaring the law of purity, some in Greek, and some in Roman letters, that no foreigner should go inside that sanctuary; for that second court of the Temple was called "the Sanctuary"; and was ascended by fourteen steps from the first court. This second court was foursquare, and had a particular wall of its own around it: although the height of its buildings on the outside was fifty-six and a half feet, this was hidden by the steps, and on the inside its height was only thirty-five and a half feet; for, being built facing a higher part of the hill with steps, it could not be entirely seen further inside, being covered by the hill itself. Beyond these fourteen steps was a distance of fourteen feet, all flat and smooth, where there were other steps, each seven feet apiece, leading to the gates, eight on the north and south sides, that is, four on each side, and of necessity two on the east, ten gates; for since there was a partition built for the women on that side, as the proper place in which they were to worship, there was of necessity a second gate for them: this gate was cut out of its wall, facing the first gate. There was also on the other side one southern and one northern gate, through which was a passage into the Court of the Women; as for the other gates, the women were not allowed to pass through them; nor when they went through their own gate could they go beyond their own wall. This place was allotted equally to the Jewish women of this country and those of other countries, provided they were of the same nation, the people of the Jews; but the wall was completely built on that side; but then the porticoes between the gates extended from the wall inward, before the chambers; for they were supported by very fine and large pillars. These porticoes were single, and, except for their size, were in no way inferior to those of the lower court.

Now nine of these gates were entirely covered with gold and silver, as were the jambs of their doors and their lintels; but there was one gate outside the inward court of the holy house, which was of Corinthian brass, and greatly excelled those that were only covered with silver and gold. Each gate had two doors, forty-two and a half feet high, and twenty-one and a quarter feet broad. However, within they had large spaces of forty-two and a half feet, and on each side rooms, and those, both in breadth and in length, were built like towers, and their height more than fifty-six and a half feet. Two pillars also supported these rooms, each seventeen feet in circumference. Now the size of the other gateways were equal to each other; but that over the Corinthian gate, which opened on the east facing the gateway of the holy house itself, was much larger; for its height was seventy feet ten inches; and its doors fifty-six and a half feet; and it was adorned in a most costly manner, having much richer and thicker plates of silver and gold than the other. The silver and gold of these nine gates had been poured on them by Alexander, the father of Tiberius. Now fifteen steps led away from the wall of the court of the women to this greater gate; while those that led there from the gates were five steps less.

As to the holy house itself, placed in the midst of the inmost court, that most sacred part of the Temple, it was ascended by twelve steps; and in front its height and its breadth were equal, each a hundred forty-one and a half feet; it was fifty-six and a half feet narrower in back, for in front it had what may be called shoulders on each side, extending twenty-eight feet four inches further. Its first gateway was ninety-nine feet high, and thirty-five and a half feet broad; but this gate had no doors; for it represented the universal visibility of heaven, and that it cannot be excluded from any place. Its front was covered with gold all over, and through it the first and more inward part of the house did all appear; which, as it was very large, so all the parts about the more inward gate appeared to shine to those that saw them; but, as the entire house within was divided into two parts, only the first part of it was open to view. All along its length it extended a hundred twenty-seven and a half feet high, its length seventy feet ten inches, and its breadth twenty-eight feet four inches; but that gate at this end of the first part of the house was, as stated, all covered with gold, as was the whole wall around it; it also had golden vines above it, from which hung clusters of grapes as tall as a man's height; but then, this house, being divided into two parts, the inner part was lower in appearance than the outer, with golden doors of seventy-seven feet eleven inches altitude, and twenty-two and half broad; but before these doors there was a veil equally large. It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, fine linen, scarlet, and purple, and of a blending very truly wonderful. This mixture of colors was not without its mystical interpretation, but was a kind of image of the universe; for the scarlet seemed enigmatically to signify fire, the fine flax the earth, the blue the air, and the purple the sea; two of them having colors based on resemblance; but the fine flax and the purple have their origins as their basis, the earth producing the one, and the sea the other. This curtain also had embroidered on it all that was mystical in the heavens, except the twelve signs of the Zodiac, representing living creatures.

Any person who entered the Temple immediately stepped onto its floor. This part of the Temple was eighty-five feet in height, and its length the same; while its breadth was only twenty-eight feet four inches: there were no steps within the Temple, but the eighty-five foot length was divided again, the first part of it cut off at fifty-six and a half feet up to the veil, and it had in it three things that were very wonderful and famous among all mankind; the candlestick, the table of show bread, and the altar of incense. Now, the seven lamps signified the seven planets; for seven were springing out of the candlestick. Now, the twelve loaves that were on the table signified the circle of the zodiac and the year; but the altar of incense, by its thirteen kinds of sweet-smelling spices supplied by sea, signified that God is the possessor of all things that are, in both the uninhabitable and habitable parts of the earth, and that they are all to be dedicated to his use. But the second, inmost part of the Temple of all, was twenty-eight feet four inches in length, twenty-eight feet four inches in breadth, no mention of its height. No steps led up to it, but it was level with the holy place. This was also separated from the outer part only by a veil. It too is understood to be eighty-five feet in height. In this there was nothing at all. According to the law, into this second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people; for under the law of Moses almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. It was inaccessible and inviolable, and not to be seen by any; and was called the Holy of Holies.

Now, around the sides of the lower part of the Temple were little houses, with passages from one to another; there were a great many of them, and they were three stories high; there were also entrances into them on each side from the gate of the Temple. But the superior part of the Temple had no such little houses any farther up, because the Temple there was narrower, and fifty-six and a half feet higher, and smaller than the lower parts of it. Josephus gathered or concluded that the whole height, including the eighty-five feet from the floor, amounted to one hundred forty-one and a half feet.

Now the outer face of the Temple in front lacked nothing likely to surprise either men's minds or eyes, for it was covered all over with very heavy plates of gold, which, at the first rising of the sun, reflected a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look at it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun's own rays. But this Temple appeared to strangers at a distance like a mountain covered with snow; for those parts of it not gilt were exceedingly white. On its top were spikes with sharp points, to prevent any pollution of it by birds sitting on it. Some of its stones were sixty-three and three quarters feet long, seven in height, and eight and a half feet in breadth. Before this Temple stood the altar, twenty-one and a quarter feet high, equal in both length and in breadth, seventy feet ten inches. It was a square figure, with corners like horns; and the passage up to it was an imperceptible incline, without steps. It was formed without any iron tool, nor did any such iron tool so much as touch it at any time. There was a separating wall of partition, about seventeen inches in height, made of fine stones, and pleasing to the sight; this encompassed the holy house, and the altar, and kept the people on the outside off and away from the priests. Moreover, those who had gonorrhea and leprosy were entirely excluded from the city; also women, when their monthly periods were on them were shut out of the Temple; nor when they were free from that impurity, were they allowed to go beyond the limiting wall already mentioned; men also, who were not thoroughly pure, because of an emission of semen, were prohibited from coming into the inner court of the Temple; no, even the priests themselves who were not pure, were also forbidden to come into it.

Now all those of priestly stock, who could not minister because of some bodily defect, came inside the dividing wall of partition along with those who had no such imperfection, and had their share with them because of their priestly stock, but still used nothing except their own private garments; for no one but he who officiated had on his sacred garments; but then the priests who were without any blemish went up to the altar clothed in fine linen. They abstained chiefly from wine, out of the fear that otherwise they should transgress some rules of their ministry. The high priest also did go up with them; indeed not always, but on the seventh days and new moons, and whenever any Jewish festivals, celebrated every year, happened. When he officiated, he had on a pair of breeches that reached under his private parts to his thighs, and had on an inner garment of linen, together with a blue garment, round, without seam, with fringework, and reaching to the feet. There were also golden bells hung on the fringes, and pomegranates between them. The bells signified thunder, and the pomegranates lightning. But the belt that tied the garment to the breast was embroidered with five rows of various colors of gold, and purple, and scarlet, also fine linen and blue; with these colors the veils of the Temple were embroidered also. Similar embroidery was on the ephod, which was folded once, making it square; but the quantity of gold in it was greater. It was like a stomacher for the breast. There were two golden buttons on it like small shields, which buttoned the ephod to the garment: these buttons enclosed two very large and very excellent sardonyxes on the one part, having the names of the tribes of that nation engraved upon them: on the other part were hung twelve stones, three in a row one way, and four in the other: a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald: a carbuncle, a jasper, and a sapphire: an agate, an amethyst, and a ligure: an onyx, a beryl, and a chrysolite; on every one them was engraved one of the forementioned names of the tribes. A miter also of fine linen surrounded his head, tied by a blue ribbon, around which was another golden crown, in which was engraved the sacred Name; it consists of four vowels. However, the high priest did not wear these garments at other times, but a more plain habit; he only did it when he went into the most sacred part of the Temple, which he did only once a year; on that day when the custom is for all Jews to keep a fast to God. And this much concerning the city and the Temple should be enough.

Now, as to the tower of Antonia, it was situated at the corner of two joined colonnades, porticoes of the court of the Temple; that on the west, and that on the north; it was erected on a rock, seventy feet ten inches high, and was on a great precipice, an immensely steep cliff; it was the work of King Herod, intended as a demonstration of his natural greatness. First, the rock itself was covered over with smooth pieces of stone from its foundation, both for ornament and so that anyone who would either try to get up or to go down it might not be able to get a foothold. Next to this, and before coming to the edifice of the tower itself, there was a wall four and a quarter feet high; but within that wall all the space of the tower of Antonia itself was built up, to the height of fifty-six and a half feet. The inner parts had the largeness and form of a palace, partitioned into all kinds of rooms and other conveniences, such as courts, and places for bathing, and broad areas for camps; to such an extent that, by having all the conveniences that cities lacked, it might seem to be composed of several cities, but by its magnificence, it seemed to be a palace; and while the entire structure resembled a tower, it also included four other distinct towers at its four corners; and while the others were only seventy feet ten inches high, the one on the southeast corner was ninety-nine feet high, so that from there the whole Temple might be viewed; but on the corner where it was joined to the two porticoes of the Temple, it had passages down to them both, through which the guard went by several ways among the porticoes, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals, in order to watch the people, that they might not there attempt to make any sudden changes in the social order (for a Roman legion always lay in wait there in this tower); for the Temple was a fortress that guarded the city, as the tower of Antonia was a guard to the Temple; and in that tower were the guards of those three—the guards of the city, guards of the Temple and guards of the tower of Antonia. There was also a particular fortress belonging to the upper city, which was Herod's palace; but as for the hill Bezetha, it was divided from the tower of Antonia by a valley; and as that hill on which the tower of Antonia stood was the highest of these three, so was it adjoined to the new city, and was the only place that hindered the sight of the Temple on the north.

During this same period, the Roman-Parthian War of A.D. 58-63 finally ended. Now, about the same time, in A.D. 63, Vespasian obtained from Nero the proconsulate of Africa. He had married one Flavia Domitilla, who bore his sons, Titus and Domitian, and a daughter, Flavia Domitilla. He brought them with him. While in Egypt he was primarily concerned with raising money; and his exorbitant taxations and extortions, coupled with sales of imperial estates to speculators, caused great discontent among the Egyptians. As proconsul of Africa, his extreme financial rigor made him so unpopular that on one occasion the people pelted him with turnips. While there was no ground for suspecting that his motives and policies were for personal financial gain, a reputation for avarice and greed remained with him the rest of his life.

In the Levant, Gessius Florus, appointed by Nero, proved to be far worse than Albinus as procurator of Judea. He became a partner with the brigands to receive a share of the spoils, and openly showed his lawless wickedness before the nation. He stripped whole cities, ruined entire populations, and eventually compelled the Jews to go to war with the Romans.

Leviticus 15:16 adapted
Hebrews 9:7, 22 adapted

see notes


See Virtual 3D Tour of Josephus' Temple of Jerusalem (bing.com)

Forty-eight

Chapter 48 Historical texts

Understand this one thing clearly: The works of the world, the flesh and the Devil are opposed to the works of the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ. We can plainly see from history how the culture and government of the pagan Roman Empire under the Caesars is opposed to the apostolic doctrine and practice of the catholic church of Christ under God. While we are like sheep in the midst of wolves, we are not ignorant of the designs of Satan, so that we may be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

About this time, in A.D. 63, Nero developed strange religious enthusiasms and became increasingly attracted to the Teachers and preachers of novel cults. Punishments were inflicted on the Christians, a sect seen as professing a new and disruptively harmful superstition unnaturally opposed to human nature, and to the worship of the gods. We were dismissed as fools by Stoics and Epicurians alike. The Apostle Peter was martyred under Nero as well as the Apostle Paul.

Nero's vices gradually began to dominate him completely. He no longer tried to trivialize or hide or deny them, but he became more brazen, urged on by the genius of the emperor. His feasts began to last from noon to midnight. He sometimes drained the artificial lake in the Campus Martius or the other one in the Roman Circus and hold dinner parties there, with prostitutes and dancing girls from all over the city serving as waitresses. Whenever he floated down the Tiber to Ostia or cruised past the city of Baiae, he had a row of temporary brothels erected along the shore, where a number of Roman noblewomen, playing the role of madams, stood waiting to solicit his business.

Nero was not satisfied with seducing freeborn boys and married women. He tried to turn the boy Sporus into a girl by castration, and then later went through a wedding ceremony with him, which the whole court attended, complete with dowry, bridal veil, floral arrangements, musicians and lavishly dressed attendants. Then he brought him home and treated him as a wife. Many joked that the world would have been a happier place if Nero's father Domitius had married that kind of wife, because Nero would never have been born. He dressed Sporus in clothes normally worn by an empress, and took him in his own litter not only to every Greek legislative gathering and fair, but eventually through the market street in Rome called the Sigillaria, so-named because small decorative pottery pieces called sigillaria were typically sold there, and on the final day of the celebration of the Saturnalia gifts like these were exchanged—and there Nero kissed him frequently with a dramatic and loathsome display of amorous passion.

His lust for his own mother Agrippina was notorious, but her enemies, fearing that she would become even more powerful and ruthless than ever, would not permit him to consummate his passion for her; so he found a new mistress who resembled her exactly. It was said that he actually did commit incest with Agrippina herself every time they rode together in the same litter, and the condition of his clothes when he emerged was seen as proof of this.

He invented for himself a game in which he dressed in animal skins, then burst forth suddenly from an artificial cave and attacked the private parts of both men and women bound to stakes; then, when he had reached an aroused peak of frenzy from this, he allowed his freedman Doryphorus to have his way with him and to sodomize him. Doryphorus now married Nero just as Nero had married Sporus, and on the wedding night Nero imitated the screams and moans of a girl losing her virginity. It was said that he was convinced that no one could remain sexually chaste or pure in any respect and that most people concealed their secret vices. It was also said that, if anyone charged with obscene practices confessed to the charge, then Nero forgave him all his other crimes.

He believed that family fortunes were made to be squandered. He deeply admired his uncle Gaius Caligula merely because he had run through Tiberius's vast fortune, and he himself never hesitated about giving away or wasting money. He was most wasteful in his architectural projects. He built a magnificent house called the Passageway, stretching from the Palatine Hill to the Esquiline Hill. He spent eight hundred thousand sesterces a day on the visiting King Tiridates of Parthia, and gave him a parting gift of a hundred million. At dice he would stake four hundred thousand gold pieces on each spot of the winning face of the dice. He never wore the same clothes twice. He went fishing with a net made of gold strung with purple and scarlet cord. It was said that he seldom traveled with a train of less than a thousand carriages. The draft mules were shod with silver, the muleteers wore Canusian wool from Canusium, a town renowned for the quality of its wool, and he was escorted by mounted North African Mazaces, those people most famously known as Mazacian horsemen; his outriders wore jingling bracelets and medallions.

He had long coveted the sites of several granaries, which were solidly built in stone near the Passageway palace. In A.D. 64 he knocked down their walls with siege engines, and set fire to their interiors. Pretending to be disgusted by the drab old buildings and narrow, winding streets of Rome, he brazenly set fire to the city, causing the infamous Burning of Rome. During the fire Nero was at his villa at Antium 35 miles from Rome and therefore could not personally be held legally responsible for the burning of the city. Although a number of former Consuls caught his attendants trespassing on their property with tow and blazing torches, they dared not interfere. This terror lasted six days and seven nights. Many people took shelter in the tombs. A vast number of tenements burned down, houses of famous generals with their trophies, temples dating back to the time of the kingship with others dedicated during the Punic and Gallic Wars, and every ancient monument of historical interest that had survived to that time. The Passageway palace also burned. Nero, watching the conflagration from the tower in the Gardens of Maecenas, was enraptured by what he called "the beauty of the flames". He then put on his tragedian's costume, and sang in its entirety from beginning to end The Fall of Troy. Afterward, desiring to collect for himself as much loot as possible, he offered to remove corpses and rubble free of charge, but allowed no one else to search among the ruins, even of his own house. Then he established a fire-relief fund and insistently demanded contributions. This bled the provincials dry and reduced all private citizens to almost total beggary.

Nero’s reputation sank to a new low when he took advantage of the fire’s destruction. Nero had the city reconstructed in the Greek style, and began building a prodigious palace: the Passageway palace had burned, but he rebuilt it and renamed it Domus Aurea, "The Golden House". A triple colonnade or portico ran for a whole mile along it, and a huge one hundred and twenty foot high statue of himself as the sun-god Helios stood in the entrance hall, twelve stories tall. A vast, enormous pool, more like a sea, was surrounded by buildings resembling cities, and a garden of plowed fields, vineyards, pastures and woodlands full of roaming domestic and wild animals. Parts of this house were overlaid with gold, precious stones and mother-of-pearl. All the dining rooms had ceilings of carved ivory, with sliding panels that allowed a rain of flowers or perfume to suddenly shower down on the guests. The roof of the circular main dining room revolved slowly like the sky, all day and all night. When this was finished and Nero had dedicated it, he said, "Good. Now at last I can begin to live like a human being."

Had the Golden House been finished according to plan, it would have covered a third of Rome. This was not his only building project.

The Roman populace believed that he himself had started the fire in Rome in order to indulge his aesthetic tastes in the city’s subsequent reconstruction. According to The Annals of the Roman historian Tacitus and The Twelve Caesars of the Roman biographer Suetonius, Nero responded to public rumors that he was the arsonist by trying to shift responsibility for the fire onto the Christians, who were popularly thought to engage in many wicked practices, such as

secret rites of initiation involving water,
incestuous marriages between sisters and brothers,
banquets of feasting on the flesh and blood of a man, or on the flesh and blood of a child,
the treasonous atheism of intolerantly denying the existence of the gods of Rome and denying the divinity of the emperor,
the worship of a dead man who had been executed by the Roman authorities and claiming that he alone was the supreme ruler and God,
and their obvious hatred of the human race by their refusal to participate in civic festivals and entertainments, to attend plays and public spectacles, or to go to see the games in the arena,
and the provoking of riots among the populace by their words.

The historian Tacitus said that Nero used the Christians as scapegoats for the great fire of A.D. 64. He was a young man when he witnessed this. Nero attempted to systematically exterminate all people who professed faith in the new-found Christian religion. Under Nero's evil rule, Romans witnessed the worst atrocities upon his victims. He did not just kill Christians, he made them suffer extremely. Nero enjoyed dipping the Christians in hot tar, and impaling them alive on poles around his palace; he would then light them on fire.

Up to that time, the government had not clearly distinguished Christians from Jews; but by his organized persecution of them in reprisal for the burning of Rome, Nero initiated a precedent for the later Roman state policy of persecution of the Christians, earning him the reputation of Antichrist and the Beast in the Christian tradition.

When Nero found himself bankrupt and unable to provide either his soldiers' pay or his veterans their benefits, he resorted to bribery and blackmail. He imposed a death tax of five-sixths of an estate, seized the estates of those he deemed ingrates for not bequeathing him enough, and fined the legal specialists who had dictated and written such wills. He encouraged informants who testified with prejudice to words or deeds of anyone that could be interpreted as maiestas, which is, "debasing the dignity and majesty of the Roman empire": a crime punishable by loss of fortune, estate, freedom and even life. He took back those presents he had given Greek cities in acknowledgement of prizes won at musical or athletic contests, and finally robbed numerous temples of their treasures and melted down the gold and silver images of their gods, including the images of the household gods of Rome.

Nero also abused his power in the government, and committed the management of affairs to those vile wretches, Caius Nymphidius Sabinus and Ofonius Tigellinus, his unworthy freedmen, so that he might the more fully devote himself to his artistic, dramatic and musical endeavors.

In A.D. 65, Nero kicked Poppaea to death in a violent beating while she was pregnant. Thus, Poppaea died, and he subsequently married the patrician lady Statilia Messalina, whose husband he was obliged to murder before he could legally marry her.

Nero had many antagonists by this time. The great conspiracy in 65 to make Gaius Calpurnius Piso emperor reveals the diversity of his enemies—senators, knights, officers, and philosophers. That the conspiracy included military officers would have normally been interpreted as an ominous sign, but Nero did not panic. Slaves kept him out of danger by warning him of plots that were hatching among their masters, but he did not altogether abandon his lenient attitude toward the aristocracy. Out of forty-one participants in the Piso conspiracy, only eighteen died, either by his order or from fear, including Seneca and the poet Lucan; the others were exiled or pardoned.

After two conspiracies, one in Rome, and one in Beneventum, Nero resolved on a wholesale massacre of the nobility. Nothing and no one could restrain Nero from murdering anyone he pleased, on any pretext whatever. Those he ordered to commit suicide were never given more than an hour to settle their affairs.

In addition to the disasters of Nero's reign, in a single autumn thirty thousand deaths from plague were recorded at the Grove of Libitina. In the provinces huge numbers of Romans and their allies were massacred when two important British garrison towns were taken by storm. Proud Roman legions in Armenia were shamefully defeated and put under the yoke. Syria was almost lost at the same time. These humiliations were blamed on the anger of the gods, said to be aroused by the obstinate refusal of Christians to worship them, and only when they were entirely exterminated would the gods be appeased. Such was the state of affairs under the genius of the emperor.

During this period, Titus, the future emperor and son of Vespasian, one of Nero's generals, married twice. His first wife, Arrecina Tertulla, died and he had married the very well-connected Marcia Furnilla; and now about A.D. 65 his only child was born, a daughter, Flavia Julia; but soon afterward he divorced her mother, his second wife, Marcia Furnilla.

Meanwhile, in Judea, Cestius Gallus, the governor, desiring to inform Nero of the power of the city, who otherwise was disposed to scornfully despise that nation, petitioned the high priests, if the thing were possible, to take the number of their whole multitude. So these high priests, on the coming of their feast called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices from the ninth hour to the eleventh, 3 P.M. to 5 P.M.—but so that a company not less than what they call a minyan of ten belong to every sacrifice (for it is not lawful for them to feast individually by themselves), and many Jews are twenty in a company—found the number of sacrifices was two hundred fifty-six thousand five hundred; which, by allowing no more than ten who feast together, amounts to about two million seven hundred thousand two hundred persons who were pure and holy; as for those who have leprosy, or gonorrhea, or women having their monthly periods, or those who are otherwise polluted, it is not lawful for them to be partakers of this sacrifice; nor indeed for any foreigners either, who come to Jerusalem to worship; and not one of these was counted among the whole number of the multitude.

And truly, while Cestius Gallus was governor of the province of Syria, no one dared do so much as send an embassy to him against Florus; but when he came to Jerusalem, on the approach of the feast of Unleavened Bread, a huge throng surrounded him of not fewer than three million: these besought him to commiserate the calamities of their nation, and cried out against Florus as the bane of their land, denouncing him as having ruined the country. Florus, who was at his side, scoffed at the protests, but Cestius promised the people greater moderation from Florus in the future, and he returned to Antioch. Florus accompanied him as far as Caesarea, scheming all the while to provoke the Jews to open revolt.

Now, Eusebius tells us that it is only right to show the gracious kindness of God's Providence in delaying the destruction of the Jews for forty years after their crime against Christ. During that period of time, most of the Apostles were yet still alive and dwelling in Jerusalem, as a bulwark against judgment providing powerful protection for the place, including James himself, "the Just", who is called the Lord's brother, whom Josephus mentions and Eusebius praises, the first Episcopos of Jerusalem and author of the Epistle of James, who afterward was slain for his witness to the Lord. For God was patient forty years, giving the whole of the people opportunity to finally repent of their misdeeds and thus find pardon and salvation, and also by sending miraculous warnings and signs of what would happen if they failed to repent. Members of the Jerusalem Assembly were then ordered by a prophetic revelation, given to those worthy of it, to leave the city and settle in a city of Perea called Pella. They migrated there from Jerusalem before the war in Judea began, so that it seemed as if, once holy men had deserted the royal capital of the Jews and the whole land of Judea, and this restraint had been removed, as Lot had removed from Sodom, then the judgment of God might finally fall on them for their crimes against Christ and his Holy Apostles, utterly blotting out all that wicked generation, that upon them might come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom they murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.

According to tradition, the two Apostles Saint Jude and Saint Simon Zelotes went to evangelize Armenia and Persia. Almost all the lands of the then known world, even as far as Britain, have been mentioned; according to the Greeks, Simon, surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel on the Black Sea, in Egypt, in Mauritania, Northern Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified, A.D. 74. According to Eusebius, Jude returned to Jerusalem in the year 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Episcopos of Jerusalem. The Abyssinians relate that Saint Simon suffered crucifixion as the Episcopos of Jerusalem, after he had preached the Gospel in Samaria. According to the Latin Passio Simonis et Judae ("The Passion of Simon and Jude"), Simon labored in Persia, and was there martyred at Suanir. According to another tradition both Jude and Simon were beheaded with an axe in Beirut, in the Roman province of Syria, about A.D. 65. Another tradition attests that they suffered martyrdom in the city of Suanir in the year 47. Still another tradition says that Jude, the brother of James, commonly called Thaddeus, was crucified at Edessa, A.D. 72, and that Simon the Zealot, Episcopos of Jerusalem, was crucified in A.D. 74.

Galatians 5:16-25 adapted
Romans 1:15-32 adapted
2 Corinthians 2:11 adapted

see notes

Forty-nine

Chapter 49 Historical texts

Meanwhile, prolonged military operations by the Roman general Corbulo in the east eventually led in A.D. 66 to a new settlement in Armenia. Tiridates, a claimant to the throne, was recognized as king, but he was compelled to come to Rome to receive his crown from Nero. Despite this success, the provinces were increasingly in a state of unrest, for they were oppressed by governmental exactions, tribute payments, assessments and fees, to cover Nero’s extravagant expenditures on his court, new buildings, and gifts to his favorites. These gifts alone are said to have amounted to more than two billion sesterces, a sum that was several times the annual cost of the army. Marcus Cocceius Nerva is first mentioned as a favorite of Nero, who bestowed upon him triumphal honors in A.D. 66, when he was praetor elect. The poetry of Nerva, which is noticed with praise by Pliny and Martial, appears to have recommended him to the favor of Nero. Nerva was employed in offices of trust and honor during the later reigns of Vespasian and Titus.

At this time the people of Judea were readily won over by impostors and false prophets, liars against God, but gave no heed or credit to visions and signs which foretold the approaching desolation of judgment. Phenomena had occurred, which this nation, prone to superstition, but despising all religious rites, did not think it appropriate to respond to with offering and sacrifice. As if struck by stupidity, and possessing neither eyes nor understanding, they ignored the signs of God.

Josephus gives us an account of them. At one time a star, in appearance like a sword, stood over the city, a comet, which was observed for a whole year. And again, before the revolt and before the disturbances that led to the war, when the people had gathered for the feast of Unleavened Bread, on the eighth of the month Xanthicus, in April, at the ninth hour of the night, 3 A.M., a light shone around the altar and the Temple so brilliant that it seemed to be bright day; and this continued for half an hour. This seemed to the ignorant a good sign, but was interpreted by the sacred scribes as portending those events which very soon took place. And the very massive bronze eastern gate of the inner Temple, which rested on iron-bound hinges, with bars sunk deep in the ground, and was closed with difficulty every evening by twenty men, was seen at the sixth hour of the night, 12 A.M. midnight, to open by itself. And not many days after the feast of Unleavened Bread, on the twenty-first of the month Artemisium, in May, a marvelous vision was seen which was beyond belief. The phenomenon might seem to be a fiction if it had not been related by those who actually saw it and the calamities which followed had not corresponded to it. Before the setting of the sun chariots and armed troops were seen on high throughout the whole region, wheeling through the clouds and encircling the cities—armies were observed joining battle in the skies, the fiery gleam of weapons, the Temple illuminated by a sudden radiance from the clouds. And at the feast of Pentecost, when the priests entered the Temple at night, as was their custom, to perform the services, they said at first they perceived a movement, a stir and a noise, the doors of the inner shrine were suddenly thrown open, and then a voice of more than human tone like a great multitude, was heard to cry out, saying, "Let us go hence."

According to the interpretation of the pagan Tacitus, the voice cried out that the Gods were departing. At the same instant there was a mighty stir as of departure.

A few attached a fearful meaning to these events, but most held to a firm conviction that in the ancient records of their priests was contained a prediction of how at this very time the East was to grow powerful, and rulers, coming from Judea, were to acquire universal empire. Josephus says that a certain oracle was found in their sacred writings which declared that at that time a certain person should go forth from their country to rule the world.

"Ask of me, and I shall give the nations as thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as thy possession."

The common people, blinded as usual by ambition, had interpreted these mighty destinies as referring to themselves, and they could not be brought to believe the truth even by disasters foretold to them by Christ. Because they refused to love the truth and so be saved, therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth, but neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy and faith.

The war in Judea that Florus was scheming to provoke actually began in A.D. 66, the second year of Florus's procuratorship, and the twelfth year of Nero's reign. It was touched off by a Greek who refused to sell to the Jews at any price his land near their synagogue in Caesarea, and to insult them had begun to erect some workshops there which left the Jews only a very narrow passageway to get to their place of worship. Florus stopped some youths who hotheadedly interrupted the construction. Then he accepted a bribe of eight talents from the Jews to stop the builders—but he did nothing and left for Sebaste, leaving the riot to run its course.

The next Sabbath, a local troublemaker mockingly sacrificed some birds over an inverted pot at the synagogue entryway, and was attacked by a youth for this blasphemy. Florus's Master of Horse, commander of his cavalry, removed the pot and attempted to stop the commotion. The Jews then fled with their copy of the Torah to Narbata, about seven miles away, and sent a delegation to Florus in Sebaste to protest and to remind him of the bribe they had paid him. He then imprisoned them for stealing the copy of their law from Caesarea.

When this news reached Jerusalem, the people restrained their outrage, but Florus, disappointed that they did not riot, and to make them revolt, then took eighteen talents from the Temple, claiming governmental necessity. The people rushed to the Temple shouting insults. Then, instead of preventing war in Caesarea, Florus marched on Jerusalem, expecting to have opportunity to pillage the city. The inhabitants of Jerusalem mocked Florus with applause when he arrived, but he sent a centurion with fifty horsemen to order them to stop, and they went home dejected and in anxiety.

The next morning at the palace, when he summoned the chief priests and leaders to hand over those who had mocked him, or face his vengeance, they said he should rather forgive and not make the many innocent suffer for the few offenders, to preserve both the city and the peace of the nation.

Florus, inflamed, shouted orders to his soldiers to plunder the upper market and kill everyone they encountered. They not only sacked the market, but massacred everyone in the houses. The streets were red with the blood of three thousand six hundred men, women, and children who were slaughtered and crucified. King Agrippa was away, but his sister Berenice, being in Jerusalem, was so horrified that she several times sent Florus messengers imploring him to stop, and even came before him herself, barefoot and kneeling, to make appeal; but he refused, and she even had to flee into the palace to save her own life.

The next day, the chief priests begged the multitude to stop their lamentations and not to curse Florus, to avoid provoking him further. Out of respect for them the crowd complied. Florus was disappointed, so he tried again. He told the chief priests that to prove they were peaceful the people were to go out and welcome two cohorts advancing from Caesarea. Then he sent word to the cohorts to completely ignore the greetings of the people, and ordered that, if they ridiculed him, to attack.

When some of the Jewish rebels started shouts against Florus, the troops surrounded and beat them with clubs while the cavalry trampled those who fled. More were crushed to death at the city gates as they ran to get inside. The troops running after them entered with them and tried to seize the Temple and the Antonia fortress. At the same time Florus and his men burst out of the palace to reach the fortress, intending to pillage it, but they were unable to cut their way through the people blocking the streets, and others from the roofs also assaulted the Romans with stones and various missiles. Florus ordered a return to the palace, and he and his men returned, but the rebels were blocking the porticoes connecting it to the fortress, and he was unable to plunder the Temple treasure.

When order had been restored, Florus then informed the city leaders of Jerusalem that he would leave. On their promise that they would keep the peace, he left one cohort in Jerusalem and returned with the rest of the troops to Caesarea. He then sent a report to Cestius Gallus accusing the Jews of revolting and causing all the crimes and bloodshed. The magistrates of Jerusalem and Berenice also wrote to Cestius about what Florus had done.

Cestius sent a tribune, Neapolitanus, to investigate. On the way he met King Agrippa returning from Egypt and informed him of his mission. A deputation of priests and leaders, arriving at Jamnia to welcome Agrippa, paid their respects and reported what Florus had done to the people. Agrippa concealed his compassion, to avoid supporting their desire for revenge. As they approached Jerusalem the people and the widows ran to them, wailing and lamenting, with many begging Agrippa for relief from Florus, and reporting to Neapolitanus the miseries he had caused. Seeing the city was peaceful, Neapolitanus went to the Temple. He commended the people for their loyalty to Rome, and urged them to maintain the peace. In the Court of the Gentiles he participated in the Temple worship, and then returned to Cestius.

Agrippa did what he could to keep the people from sending a mission to Nero to accuse Florus, to discourage them from war. The people accepted his counsel, and he, and Berenice, and they, all went to the Temple and began rebuilding the demolished galleries. The magistrates collected forty talents from the villages, and the danger of war seemed averted. But when Agrippa urged the people to obey Florus while awaiting the time that Caesar would send a replacement, they threw stones at the king and expelled him from the city. Agrippa withdrew in a fury to his own territory.

Then Eleazar, son of the high priest Ananias, lacking all reverence, and against all tradition and precedent, and opposing the chief priests and experts of the law, persuaded those who offered the ritual sacrifices presented by the people and the Gentiles to accept no offerings from any foreigners. He impiously suspended all sacrifice on behalf of the emperor and Rome, while the most rebellious Jews attacked and captured the fortress Masada and killed the guards. The Temple priests and the revolutionary party would not listen to lawful counsel. The leading citizens saw that they could not stop the revolt and that they themselves would be first to suffer Rome's vengeance. They sent a deputation to Florus and a deputation to Agrippa, requesting them to send an army to crush the rebellion. Florus was secretly delighted, and sent them away without an answer. Agrippa immediately sent two thousand calvary to help, and they immediately engaged the rebels.

For seven days neither side prevailed, and then a fierce attack by the sicarii under a base-born Jew named Menahem from within the Temple overpowered the royal troops, forcing them to retreat from the upper city. The residence of the high priest, and the palace of Agrippa, and the public archives containing the records of creditors, were set on fire. The chief priests and leaders hid in sewers or fled with the king's troops to Herod's upper palace and shut the gates. Then the attackers assaulted the upper palace.

Menahem took his followers to Masada, stripped the armory there, and returned to direct the siege. As the siege continued day and night, many of the attackers were killed by arrows and stones. After two days of attacks, the fortress Antonia was captured. The garrison soon sued for terms. The rebels granted safe passage to the royal troops, who withdrew. Their despondent Roman allies retreated to Herod's three towers, Hippicus, Phasael, and Mariamme. Menahem's men killed everyone in the palace. They killed the garrison, and torched it. Ananias the high priest and his brother Ezechias were apprehended near the canal in the palace and put to death.

The low-born Menahem began to be an unbearable tyrant over the people. He was wearing royal robes when he was attacked in the Temple by the higher-born Eleazar and his party, who had revolted from the Roman tyranny. They killed every one they caught, and dragged Menahem to public execution, and put him to death by multiple tortures.

Another Eleazar, son of Simon, a relative, escaped with a few others and became the despot ruler of Masada. Metilius, commander of the Roman garrison, concerned for the lives of his men, and being hard pressed by this Eleazar's siege, asked to be spared if he and his men surrendered arms and property. This was agreed. But as soon as they came down and laid down their arms, they were massacred, and Metilius alone escaped death by promising to become a Jew and be circumcised. This took place on the Sabbath.

War was now inevitable; for at the same time the Caesareans slaughtered all the Jews in Caearea, twenty thousand in one hour.

The whole province became a horror of bloody reprisals and slaughter, Jews against Jews who had armed themselves in defense against attack, Greeks and Romans killing Jews, and Jews killing them, in city after city, even in Egypt. Agrippa attempted to negotiate with the Jews in Jerusalem, but his emissaries were slain. Cestius, Florus and Tyrannius Priscus alternately gained and lost against the Jews. Ten thousand five hundred Jews were massacred by the people of Damascus.

Simon, son of Giora, caused such havoc in his own territory that Ananus, the ex-high priest, and his leaders sent an army against him. He fled with his marauding band of revolutionaries to Masada and plundered Idumea instead, where the people had to protect themselves by raising an army.

At this time Josephus son of Matthias, in favor with many of the people, became chief general and governor of the Jews in Galilee.

John of Gischala then seized power in Jerusalem, and after plotting to turn the people against Josephus by accusing him of plotting to become an absolute tyrant, he was discovered to be a treacherous schemer and fled to his town of Gischala. Many Galileans wanted to burn him and the town, but Josephus offered his partisans five days to abandon his cause. Three thousand of them joined Josephus. But John sent emissaries to Jerusalem, still warning that Josephus would become a tyrant. Josephus meanwhile reproached all the rebels for their rebellion. Using various stratagems multiple times to make them think he had superior forces, he promised pardon to any who would assist him. Various leaders were thus enticed to come over to him; and, being unwilling to put anyone to death, once he had them all, he imprisoned them. Galilee became quiet, and the Jews began making preparations for the impending struggle against Rome. The walls of Jerusalem were repaired and engines of war were constructed. Weapons and armor were forged and the young were trained for combat.

see notes


Continue

Index

Return to Main article



Original Conservapedia Edition revised and completed 5/19/2018 vigil of Pentecost—developed by Michael Paul Heart and the editors of Conservapedia.