Surviving the Gates of Hell!
The journey of the word of the Lord from the first followers of the way to the present generation in 2022 is one that is perplexing and astonishing. Below is but a brief overview of the last 2,000 years and a piece of that journey.
The Political Days Of Yeshua…
Yeshua was not a Guru, nor was he a Mystic! He was the Son of God and came to restore Israel at a time when His truth was a threat to Rome, and to all the political appointees in the Temple, and those of the Sanhedrin. He was a threat to the High Priests who none were of the Levitical priesthood; at that time all were politically appointed. Of the Levitical line in Jerusalem, none were left except John the Baptist, who never accepted his position. Instead he prepared the way for Yeshua, baptising the people and teaching that the Messiah was coming.
Most of the elite of the day with all of their importance, came to dislike Yeshua because his teachings interferred with the political and worldly hold that the dogma of the Pharisees, Sadducees, tax collectors and lawyers had on the people. King Herod had a strong co-loyalty with Rome and there was a lot of chatter amongst the elite concerning Yeshua and his lineage and many feared he would try to take over the kingship. Yeshua was the rightful heir to be King of Israel by his lineage of David and the Tribe of Judah!
Rome kept a watchful eye on him because he had great favor with the people and this was a bone of contention with the priests and those on the Sanhedrin. Rome didn’t want any skirmishes between followers and the Jews of the temple. It was already a time of uncertainty and unrest as many of the common Jews resented Roman occupation of Jerusalem and the entire region. There was much talk of organized rebels that sought to revolt against the Romans and regain their freedom, but the Roman guard ended any such attempt before it got out of control.
The people followed the law of the Temple, but Rome was the governing rule. Jerusalem and the region was occupied by Rome. Pontius Pilate was sent to govern over the land, even though they had appointed King Herod to rule over the Jewish people.
Jerusalem had no King of the throne of David residing over them since the time of its fall by the King of Babylon. It had been almost 483 years since the Jews had been decreed by Cyrus to rebuild the temple and the city and now …
King Herod was placed by political appointment by Emperor Caesar as a favor to Mark Anthony. He was a great builder and came to be hailed as King Herod the Great. He rebuilt the temple and called it Antonio Fortress in honor of Mark Anthony. Pilot, was sent to govern and took his quarters in Antonio Fortress where the High Priests once stayed. The entire section of the temple grounds that once housed the priests was now a garrison for legends of Roman soldiers. The same Roman soldiers who now stood guard on top the walls surrounding the temple to watch over the citizens… to make sure the Jews stayed in line and caused no trouble. Herod the Great (bibleodyssey.org) When he died his son took his place.
Herod had even built a collisium for chariot races and games larger and grander than the one built in Rome. The Sanhedrin had established so many laws the people could not possibly even know them all, let alone obey them. It was a time of much corruption.
This was the state of Jerusalem and the land of Judeah at the time our Lord came to teach the people the ways of the Lord.
After they crucified their Messiah… all hell broke loose and the land was never again the same. The priests bribed the soldiers to say that Yeshua had not risen but instead his body was stolen and the witch hunts began. The declared sorcery was the cause of the dead rising from the graves and walking about the city witnessing. Nothing was ever to be he same as it once was again.
Matthew 28:11-15: 11Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ 14And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” 15So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
As unrest grew, many of the followers of the way had to fled the city for safety. As time passed, the Jews stoned Stephen and the city was surrounded by soldiers. The disciples had remembered what Jesus had told them and fled the area and went into the nations to teach the news that Jesus had risen. Many went to Egypt and from Egypt set out to other lands. Many fled to Syria and Turkey. The 7 churches Paul established were in Turkey. As time passed Emperors of Rome made decrees to kill any of the now named Christians. Christos….which was not a name of praise it was a mocking of the Christ given to them by others when they went to Antioch to teach the words of the Lord. Christos meant…little Christs and they called them that to mock them. The same as Hillary called Trump supporters Deplorables.
This was a time of great tribulation for all who followed the way of the Lord and for the Jews. For it wasn’t long and Rome was angered at the Priests for killing the peoples perceived Messiah and creating this great unrest giving the rebels opportunity to act out their designs as well. Roman soldiers were ordered to take down the Jewish banners and replace them with that of Rome. They were now under total Roman rule and any agreement they had with Herod and the Jews prior was null and void. As time passed, Rome dictated and over time this escalated into war until finally in 70AD, Rome destroyed both the city and the Temple killing all the Jews in a bloody massacre. Josephus wrote that it was the worst mass killing in the history of the Jews and there was no one left to bury the dead. The wild birds feasted off the dead in the streets.
From the time of the Lord’s ascension and the stoning of Stephen it was a time of burning any scrolls and papyrus writings of Yeshua. Again, those of the faith sought refuge as they fled to the nations and many had to teach underground. It was not a time of open ministry without risking peril…at least not in Judea. In Turkey followers were hidden in the underground cities as Romans would invade and kill the followers. Parthians would raid and steal…so it was a very difficult time to be alive if you were a follower of Jesus, let alone spread the gospel.
Many had escaped to the Isles and lived in Ireland, Scotland and England. Some, such as Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Jesus made it to the south of Gaul.
Paul was killed by Nero in Rome. In spite of what the Vatican says, Simon Peter never had the following in Rome that Nero favored. It was Simon Magus the sorcerer, who was also among the first to blend the way of the Lord with his pagan teachings making up the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. The thing Nero enjoyed. It was Simon Magus, the sorcerer that Rome had honored with a statue. Simon Peter was crucified upside down.
So, in spite of persecutions, the truth of the way of the Lord was told and each had to be wise in how and where they taught. That being said, what we have a precious and thought provoking history of how the Word of God did survive the Gates of Hell. At the council of Nicea many of the precious books were deemed unorthodox. Many who resisted the new one world religion kept their books and read in secret. During this time, many truths were told in stories and tales to teach good versus evil teachings and not be hauled away. For it was illegal in most areas to teach or speak of the Word in any form of teaching unless you were a theologian.
Which bring us to Foxes’s Book of Martyres written by John Foxe in 1563.
John Foxe gives an account of those killed for their faith in detail. He explains the translations and the books and how the word of God survived through the ages. You will find that permission was given to the exiled Jews of Babylon from Ptolemy Philometor of Egypt, to raise a temple at Leontopolis, and to appoint priests and Levites for its service. A gathering- place was thus formed for the exiled Jews: their temple was, as nearly as they could make it, like that at Jerusalem, and the rites used there were similar. This is very important for it verifies 1 Maccabbees and the travels of Jeremiah and the daughters of King Zedekiah to Egypt, after the fall of Babylon. He later left Egypt with the Kings daughters (heirs to the throne of David), to go to the Isles.
BIBLE TRANSLATORS AND REVISERS.
The Bible in Ancient Times.
Before going on to tell of the good and learned men who, in the ages that are past, translated the Bible into different languages, it will be proper to give a brief history of the sacred volume itself, and of the ancient writings, or manuscripts, by means of which it has been preserved to us.
Long before the art of printing from type was known books were written, or rather printed, only with the pen. Much labor and time was therefore required to make a book; and as but few persons possessed the necessary skill or knowledge, and as, instead of paper, expensive vellum or parchment, made from the skins of animals, was used to write on, books were very scarce and expensive things.
In the early Christian age, books were found chiefly within the libraries of monasteries or religious houses; for the monks spent much of their time in transcribing—often in graceful and beautiful characters, and with brilliantly colored pictures—copies of the holy Scriptures, and books of devotion.
The three oldest written or manuscript copies of the Bible, in the original Greek text, that are now in existence are, curiously enough, in the possession of the three great branches of the Christian church. The first, called the “ Alexandrian,’’ belongs to Protestant England, and is kept in the manuscript-room of the British Museum; the second, called the “Vatican ” Bible, is in the Vatican Library at Rome; the third, or “Sinaitic,” which has only been discovered in recent years in the record-chest of a monastery near Mount Sinai, is one of the treasures of the Greek church, at St. Petersburg, Russia. These ancient parchments are from 1350 to 1600 years old. All Greek manuscripts of an earlier date seem to have perished in the terrible persecutions which were directed, not only against the Christians themselves, but also against their sacred writings.
The Old Testament portions of these old Greek Bibles are copies of the “ Septuagint,’’ which was the most ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament. The history of this early Greek Old Testament is not very clear; it was at one time believed to have been the work of seventy-two scholars who were appointed by Eleazer, high priest at Jerusalem, to translate the Hebrew sacred books for the royal library of Ptolemy Philadelphus, at Alexandria, Egypt. From the number of the supposed translators the name “ Septuagint (seventy) was taken. It is now known, however, that the translation was not made at one time, but was begun about the year 285 b.c., and continued on by different men, and at different times, until the whole was completed. It is not improbable, however, that a copy was placed in the royal library at Alexandria; but whether the translation was first brought about by the Jews in Egypt, so that they could hear the law and the prophets read in a language they could understand, or whether one of the Egyptian kings commanded it to be done, cannot now be determined.
The Jews from Babylon to Egypt
It is certain, however, that colonies of Jews, from the time of the first captivity and onwards, settled in Egypt, and that they obtained permission from Ptolemy Philometor to raise a temple at Leontopolis, and to appoint priests and Levites for its service. A gathering- place was thus formed for the exiled Jews: their temple was, as nearly as they could make it, like that at Jerusalem, and the rites used there were similar. Intercourse with Palestine was, however, still maintained, but a natural result of the settlement of so many Jews in Egypt, a country then ruled by the Greek-speaking Ptolemies, was the translation of the sacred books of the Hebrews into Greek.
Many versions or translations of the Bible into other languages than the Greek, were made in different countries in the early Christian era. These are of great value in interpreting the Scriptures, as they show the meaning put upon the words used in still more ancient manuscripts long since perished, by various translators. The oldest of these manuscript Bibles, containing both the Old and the New Testament, now in existence, is the Syriac; this discolored and time- stained parchment was written with the pen nearly eighteen hundred years ago. (Note from Dianne, this would have been around 763 ad) It is a Bible such as was used by men whose fathers might have seen the apostles themselves, and being written in the language of Syria represents very nearly that of the people among whom our Lord moved while upon earth. The Syriac Scriptures, with the Latin, are the oldest Bibles that have come down to us.
First Revision of the Bible.
It can readily be seen that, as time went on, and the Scriptures were copied and recopied with the pen, mistakes were likely to be made; in fact, by the end of the fourth century so many errors had crept into the old Latin versions that the Latin-speaking churches were in danger of losing the pure Scripture of the days of the apostles. At this time one of the greatest scholars and holiest men of his time, Eusebius Hieronymus, better known as St. Jerome, under took the correction, or revision. He completed the New Testament in the year 385 A. D., and afterward translated the Old Testament direct from the original Hebrew—a task which probably no other scholar of the time would have been capable of. Since Jerome of course used for his edition the oldest manuscripts to be had in his day, he probably copied from some which were written in the time of the apostles. The work of no other scholar ever had so important an influence on the history of the Bible, and for more than one thousand years Jerome’s revised Latin Bible was the parent of every version of the Scriptures produced in Western Europe. It is called the “ Vulgate ” meaning current text and many centuries later, at the council of Trent, held by the Roman church in the year 1546, it was ordained that the Vulgate alone should be deemed the authentic version, and that no one should dare to reject it under any pretext whatever.
Discovery of the Art of Printing.
Until about the year 1450, Bibles and books of every kind continued to be written with the pen. Then John Gutenberg, of Mentz, in Germany, made the discovery that by cutting out the letters of the alphabet in wooden type, and taking ink impressions by means of a rude hand-press, the labor of transcribing words with the pen could be avoided.
According to the story, this important discovery was the result of an accident. When a boy, Gutenberg had one morning amused himself by cutting out the letters forming his name, from the bark of a tree. Upon returning to his home he spread out the letters upon a board, so as to again form the words. A pot of purple dye was standing near and the boy carelessly dropped one of his letters into the liquid. Quickly, without stopping to think, he snatched it out again and laid it down upon a smooth piece of leather which lay on the bench, the result being a beautiful purple letter printed on the yellowish white surface of the skin.
This accidental discovery was, apparently, never forgotten, and it marked the first step toward the art of printing from movable type, which, thirty years afterward, made the name of Gutenburg famous. In 1450 his press was at work at Mentz, and the first completed book issued from that press is said to have been the Latin Bible. Read the whole history here: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs : John Foxe : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
The true word of God has survived the gates of hell. What is it within the pages of the truth that those who ruled the world were so afraid of the people to know? When we look at the history of those who followed the way of the Lord, and the years of hell on earth the first followers of the way went through, followed up by ages of censorship or death, the entire history is dark and full of evil against God’s people and God’s Word.
Today we are faced with the uncovering of the truth that has been mistranslated, pronouns changed, sentences taken out and misinterpreted. The numbers of those who are seeking to find the truth and share it is growing. Many in the church are throwing their Theology PHD’s, certifications and authorizations in our faces to no avail. They can keep their 501c3’s all to theirselves. Many are throwing Bible verses at others as weapons to force their wills and that is also showing their lack of understanding of the truth. The writing is on the wall as Mark Taylor says, “The 501c3 churches are under chastisement. Come out from the government run 501c3 or suffer the wrath to come. God is bringing them down.”
The dark ones have no power that can ever match the power of God. Stand up and seek and you shall find the truth and the truth shall set you free! Jesus is the light of the world.
Keep on pressing into the Kingdom of God! PRESS, PRESS, PRESS!