Hello everyone and thanks for coming back. Today we will continue right where we left off last post. This again is from Eusebius’s Book III, Chapter XX. Titled, The Relatives of Our Saviour. He takes these words from a man named Hegesippus.
Hegesippus, was born 110AD, and died April 7, 180 AD in Jerusalem, Palaestina. He was a Christian chronicler of the early Church who may have been a Jewish convert, and certainly wrote against heresies of the Gnostics and of Marion. Hegesippus’s works are now entirely lost, save eight passages concerning Church history quoted by Eusebius, who tells us that he wrote Hypomnemata; “Memoirs” or “Memoranda” in five books, in the simplest style concerning the tradition of the Apostolic preaching.
Back now to Book III, Chapter XX, of Eusebius.
1 Of the family of the Lord there were still living the grandchildren of Jude, who is said to have been the Lord’s brother according to the flesh?
2 Information was given that they belonged to the family of David, and they were brought to Emperor Domitian by the Evocatus. For Domitian feared the coming of Christ as Herod also feared it. And he asked them if they were descendants of David, and they confessed they were. Then he asked them how much property they had, or how much money they owned. And both of them answered that they had only nine thousand denarii.
4 (a paragraph is skipped here) half of which belonged to each of them; and this property did not consist of silver, but of a piece of land which contained only thirty-nine acres, and from which they raised their taxes and supported themselves by their own labor.
5 Then they showed their hands, exhibiting the hardness of their bodies and the callousness produced upon their hands by continuous toil as evidence of their own labor.
And when they were asked concerning Christ and his Kingdom, of what sort it was and where and when it was to appear, they answered that it was not a temporal or earthly kingdom, but a heavenly and angelic one, that would appear at the end of the world, when he should come in glory to judge the quick and the dead, and to give unto every one according to his works.
7 Upon hearing this, Domitian did not pass judgement against them, but, despising them as of no account, he let them go, and by decree put a stop to the persecution of the Church.
This to me is a very interesting account, because it shows possibly two things about Domitian. 1. That Domitian was aware that Jesus had already come upon the earth and died and rose again, and he was curious about Christ’s second coming, and saw it as no threat. Or 2. Domitian had no clue about Jesus, like maybe his father Vespasian, but only heard of a coming king through the lineage of David of the Jews. I myself am leaning heavily on number two and this is why. When Domitian asked the two grandchildren of Jude about the coming King, they answered correctly, because they had knowledge that Jesus had already came, sacrificed himself on the cross and rose from the dead to be with his Father in Heaven. Therefore when they were approached with this question, they automatically assumed that he (Domitian) was asking about Christ’s second coming. When they answered the question, Domitian was no longer concerned, because to him it probably sounded like a silly myth, and when he saw that they were poor and hard laborers, he thought to himself, how from these men could possibly rise a King, therefore they were of no threat. This my friends is exactly how our God works. Satan attacked the Christians and the Jews through Domitian, but through the truth, he was fooled, and the persecutions ended, and God spared his Congregation. Also if Domitian was aware of Jesus’s first coming, then surely he would have known of his humble beginnings, such as born in a manger to a young virgin mother Mary, married to a hard working tradesman Joseph, who labored to take care of his family, and was probably on all accounts poor. The very thing that Domitian saw as no threat, was the very way our Savior came into this world and lived in this world. That’s our God, He knows the thoughts of man, see’s it as foolishness, and then uses it according to His purpose.
To conclude, Domitian clearly persecuted the Congregation just as John Foxe wrote. As far as the Apostle John being put in a vat of boiling oil, or Timothy’s martyrdom under Domitian, I could not find evidence of that. Again, I could not find the resource or resources that John Foxe May have used.
Now we are at my favorite part, and that is searching out my favorite resource of all, and that’s the Bible, God’s most Holy Word. By doing this we are going to find out a little more about Domitian that the early Christian writers didn’t write about, or I should say that early Christian writers that I could find didn’t write about. Domitian is right there in the Bible but he is not named by John, therefore many theologians, and Bible prophecy teachers, when going over the book of Revelation, don’t even bring up is name and explain it as it should be explained, and taught. We are going to go to Revelation Chapter 2:13
The reason we are going here, is because here, Satan is mentioned twice. When ever Jesus is persecuted, it is always by satan, he hates Jesus, therefore His Congregation that declares his name and has His testimony, the Testimony of Jesus, we become satan’s enemy also. So when persecutions come upon His Congregation, it likewise is satan attacking and doing the persecuting, he is just doing it through someone. And when we, His Congregation are persecuted, He (Jesus) likewise is persecuted with us. And whenever satan uses someone to attack and persecute Jesus, that someone becomes an antichrist. Therefore I’m going to go back around the time the book of Revelation was written, and that would be around 95 AD, by John the Apostle, then I’m going to look for anything that is mentioned at or around that time, for any mention of satan, or the devil. And sure enough God did not let us down, He shows us clearly who Domitian was (antichrist) through the letters to the Assembly’s. So let’s go, let’s dive into this headfirst. This is the letter written to the Assembly of Pergamos, and this is what Jesus says.
Revelation 2:13- “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”
The first thing I’m going to search out here is, this seat of Satan, that is located in Pergamos, and we will start with a little history about the city of Pergamos.
Pergamos: Greek Pergamon was an ancient city located in the Anatolia region, approximately 25 kilometers from the Aegean Sea in-present day, Bergama, Izmir Province of Turkey. Pergamon reached the height of its influence during the Hellenistic period, becoming the capital of the Attalid kings. During the Roman period the city was the first capital of the Asian province, but it eventually lost this status to local rival, Ephesus. Eumenes II succeeded Attalus I and he ruled Pergamon from 197 BC to 159 BC. In 190 BC, the Romans expelled the Seleucids from the Anatolia region. The Romans were not interested in ruling Anatolia themselves, so Eumenes II, who at one point had already become a friend and ally of the Romans, was now made the new ruler of the territory which had belonged to the Seleucids. Eumenes II took the initiative to enhance Pergamon’s prestige by enlarging it and turning it into a cultural capital. This was the time when the ‘Great Altar’ or ‘Pergamon Altar’ was created. (ancient.eu)
So bingo, there it is. What was this Great Altar or Pergamon Altar? Let’s find out. Is this the seat of Satan? Let’s take a look now at this Altar.
Archaeology of Pergamon- The archaeological site of Pergamon has provided many fine works of the Hellenistic and Roman art but perhaps the most impressive is the altar which now resides in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. The Great Altar was constructed during the reign of Eumenes II and has a surface area of some 36 by 34 meters. It is one of the most impressive works of art surviving antiquity. The altar was constructed around a staircase and the 2.3 meters high and 120 meter long frieze is topped by a colonnaded hall Sculpted in high relief, the frieze depicts lively representations of Zeus, Artemis and other Olympian gods fighting the Giants, symbolic of the victory of order over chaos. (ancient.eu)
The first two questions I have here are 1. Why was it built? A altar is normally built for worship of some god, so was this god Zeus? Or another god perhaps. 2. What in the world is it doing in Berlin Germany? Doesn’t that seem strange? It does to me for sure, so let’s explore this a bit more, I don’t think that article gave us enough information on this altar, what Jesus called the seat of Satan.
The answer to question no. 1 is pretty easy to answer up to a point. When the Greeks built the altar it was for their god Zeus, and was called the Altar of Zeus, and is still named that to this day. But was Jesus talking about Zeus when He mentions satan? I don’t think so, it just doesn’t make sense. When the book of Revelation was written, it was under Roman rule, not Greek, but when the altar was built, it was built by the Greeks, so we have to explore a little now on Greek mythology verses Roman mythology, to maybe get a better picture of all this.
Greek Gods vs. Roman Gods: Although Greek gods are better known, Greek and Roman mythology often have the same gods with different names because many Roman gods are borrowed from Greek mythology, often with different traits. For example, Cupid is the Roman god of love and Eros is the Greek god of love.
Traits: Greek gods are given a beautiful, perfect physical appearance while Roman gods are not given physical form and represented only in the imagination of the people. Greek gods are mainly based on human personality traits like love, hate, honor and dignity, and myths related to the are shaped by theses traits. Roman gods are based on objects or actions rather than personality traits. (diffen.com) when you continue on in this article, there’s a list of the names of Greek gods and their counterpart Roman gods, and in the list you will find the Greek god Zeus, is the Roman god Jupiter. If this is the case, and the time the book of Revelation was written, was under Roman rule in AD 95. Was Jupiter the satan Jesus was talking about? I’m still not at all convinced. And did the Romans still hold to the altar being for Zeus? Again, I don’t think so, Zeus wasn’t their pagan god. I have another question now. How did the Romans view their deities? Now let’s go all the way back, and then work forward to 95 AD and Domitian, because this dude was definitely different.
Roman Gods – Early Pantheism: Roman gods originated in the ancient “village” of Rome as the faceless and formless deities that supported farmers in their efforts with the land. The large number of Roman gods can most likely be explained by the pantheistic belief of “numen,” which holds that gods and spirits inhabit places, objects and living things. The early Romans believed that everything in nature was inhabited by numina.
Roman Gods – Later Expansion: Roman gods began taking on the forms that we would recognize today during the dynasty of the Etruscan kings that ruled the city of Rome in the 6th century BC. During this period, the Romans adapted a group of three Etruscan gods as the focus of state worship. These gods were worshiped at the grand temple on the Capitoline Hill, and as such, became known as the Capitoline triad. The triad consisted of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. The Capitoline temple at this time became the focus of public worship. Jupiter was, king of gods, Juno was, queen of the gods and Minerva was, the goddess of wisdom.
Well that’s going to have to be it for this post, to be continued. Until next time, may the Lord bless your search for truth, leaving no stone unturned.