Watchman's Teaching Letter #85 May 2005
This is my eighty-fifth monthly teaching letter and begins my eighth year of publication. As of this date (4-9-05), Eugene (Buddy) Johnson has not repented of his blasphemous false teachings claiming that our Savior came from the Tribe of Ephraim rather than Judah, though this ministry has shown ample evidence of Johnson’s error and shared that evidence with him. Johnson further claims that Tamar (Judah’s intended daughter-in-law with whom he fathered the twins, Pharez and Zarah) was a Canaanite. I sent Johnson, nearly 10 years ago, a photocopy of The Book Of Jasher, chapter 45, verse 23 proving that Tamar was of the House of Shem, yet he continues to make that same charge that all the descendants of Judah and Tamar are “Canaanite-Jews.” Since the Germans, Scots and Irish are direct descendants of Judah and Tamar (of which I am all three), Johnson strongly intimates that I am a Canaanite! Therefore, all of you who have German or Scottish or Irish lineage; Johnson is also claiming you are a Canaanite. I thought you ought to know this before you send him some of your hard-earned-money to promote his lies. Probably 95% of Johnson’s followers have German or Scottish or Irish blood and it is amazing to me why anyone would continue to take the time to listen to Johnson continue to blaspheme their lineage, as well as the lineage of Yahshua Christ Himself!
Over the last several lessons we have been determining the value of the writings of Herodotus and Josephus. According to some, we should relegate these histories to an infamy of the utmost degree. Some would have us believe that the evidence testified to by these two witnesses should be cast into the flame. While we are in the process of burning all the histories of Herodotus and Josephus, we will also have to burn all the writings of Eusebius’ The Church History, for Eusebius depends on Josephus as a foundation for his church history which covers the period from the time of Christ until the early 300rds A.D. Once we start this enterprise of book-burning, it appears there will be no end to our endeavor to destroy. I am not saying that Herodotus, Josephus or Eusebius were perfect, but who else do we have to support Scripture at these critical periods of time? There are some in Israel Identity who claim to be of the highest Biblical authority, who have never so much as cracked, nor do they own, one of these three men’s histories. All three of these histories could probably be purchased for less than $100, so there are few who have an excuse for not procuring, and then seriously studying them!
To get started with this lesson, I will take an excerpt from Paul L. Maier’s translation of Eusebius’ The Church History where he describes Eusebius’ sources on page 131:
“As it happened, however, it is most fortunate that Eusebius did quote his sources extensively, since many of them have been lost and would not have survived, even in fragments, had Eusebius not incorporated them into his history. This is not true for Josephus, whom we have virtually intact, or for some of the works of the two Clements, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin, Irenaeus, or Tertullian. But it is true for the important testimony of Papias, Quadratus, Melito, Hegesippus, Rhodo, Apolinarius, and other early authors, as well as for important edicts and documents that would otherwise have been lost.
“Contemporary readers may recoil at Eusebius’s repeated references to God’s punishing the Jews with the destruction of Jerusalem for their ‘crime against Christ.’ Unfortunately, this opinion was rather typical of early Christian polemic in the struggle between church and synagogue, and Eusebius is more restrained in this respect than some other writers of his day. If many of the early Christian writers were anti-Judaic, it is equally true that many early Jewish writers were anti-Christian, and Jews in some localities helped incite persecution against the Christians. This, of course, is not to defend excesses and intolerance on either side.”
I’m contemporary with today’s readers, and I do not “recoil” in the least at Eusebius’ “repeated references to God’s punishing the Jews” nor he being “anti-Judaic.” There’s one thing about it, if Josephus were a bad fig “Jew” as some claim, Eusebius would never have quoted him in his church history as he did; he wouldn’t have given Josephus the time of the day!
On page 89, Paul L. Maier, under the heading “Eusebius On The Apostles”, comments thusly:
“With the book of Acts as his basis, Eusebius nicely supplements the New Testament account with extrabiblical material from Josephus, Philo, Clement, Tertullian, Hegesippus, and others. His reliance on Josephus is confessed and understandable, a practice widely shared by early Christian writers and probably a reason that Josephus has survived across the centuries through recopied manuscripts when other historians were irretrievably lost.”
To get some idea concerning the background of Eusebius, I will quote from the Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia:
“Eusebius of Caesarea (260?-340?), theologian, church historian, and scholar, probably born in Palestine. Called Eusebius Pamphili, he took the name Pamphili from his friend and teacher Pamphilus of Caesarea, whose extensive library furnished much of the historical materials for Eusebius’s later literary work. Eusebius also collaborated with Pamphilus on an edition of the Septuagint from the text in the Hexapla of the early Christian writer Origen, and in the preparation of an apology (five books, now lost) for Origen’s teachings. After the martyrdom of Pamphilus, Eusebius left Caesarea for Tyre. He subsequently fled Tyre during the persecutions of Christians at the beginning of the 4th century, presumably only to be imprisoned on his arrival in Egypt. After 310 the persecutions ceased, and he was released.
“About 314 he became bishop of Caesarea. At the Council of Nicaea in 325 Eusebius delivered the opening address and was made the leader of the Semi-Arians, the moderate party, who were averse to discussing the nature of the Trinity and preferred the simple language of the Scriptures to the subtleties of metaphysical distinctions. At Nicaea he accepted the Athanasian position, although he showed Arian leanings at the synods of Antioch (324) and Tyre (335). Eusebius stood in high favor with Constantine the Great, emperor of Rome, and was one of the most learned men of his time.
“Apart from his historical writings, Eusebius was responsible for the Eusebian Canons, a system of cross-references to the Gospels employed in many biblical manuscripts. Eusebius edited or improved the work of the 3rd-century Alexandrian theologian Ammonius by dividing the Gospel of Matthew into 355 sections, Mark into 236, Luke into 342, and John into 232, the number of each of these so-called Ammonian Sections being written on the margin of the text. Because of the similarity of matter, many sections of one Gospel were nearly identical with other sections of one or more of the other Gospels. For convenience of reference, Eusebius constructed ten clarifying tables or lists. Eusebius was a prolific writer, producing mostly apologetics, but also a history of the world until 303 and a history of the Christian church until 324.”
To get another glimpse of this historian named Eusebius, we will use an excerpt from a translation of The History Of The Church put out by Penguin Books, translated by G. A. Williamson, in the introduction on pages xvi-xvii:
“The rest of Eusebius’ works are biblical and doctrinal. He preserved the interest that he had shared with Pamphilus in preparing a reliable text of the Scriptures. When Constantine’s new city of Constantinople needed copies of the Bible for use in celebrating the liturgy in its many new churches, the Emperor wrote to Eusebius asking him to provide fifty copies of the Bible, well written and easy to read. Eusebius also wrote commentaries on the Psalms and Isaiah, works on problems posed by the Scriptures – the polygamy of the Patriarchs, the conflicting accounts of the Resurrection in the Gospels – and his ‘Gospel Canons’, which enabled one to locate and compare parallel passages in the four Gospels. He wrote a work (much of which is lost) on the significance of the Easter festival in relation to the Jewish Passover (it is worth noting, in passing, that Greek uses one word – pascha – where we use two – Easter and Passover – and so naturally associates Christian Easter and Jewish Passover, where we tend to separate them) and a work, usually called the Onomasticon, which is a gazetteer of biblical sites and is still today the most important source for the topography of the Holy Land. His doctrinal works include his part in the Defence of Origen, the last book of which Eusebius wrote himself after the death of Pamphilus, and two late works (Against Marcellus and the Ecclesiastical Theology) against bishop Marcellus of Ancyra, a supporter of Nicaea who was deposed by an Arian synod in Constantinople in 336 and whom the Arian party (including Eusebius) accused of Sabellianism.
“Alongside all this literary work, Eusebius was for some twenty-five years or so bishop of the busy provincial city of Caesarea, and, as bishop of that see, metropolitan bishop of Palestine. We have no idea what kind of a bishop he was, but it seems unlikely that one so attached to Caesarea would have been neglectful of his pastoral charge. His declining to leave Caesarea to become bishop of the much more prestigious see of Antioch c. 327 cannot, however, be used as evidence of his affection for Caesarea, as it was clearly the Emperor’s wish that he should not accept the see of Antioch. But he stayed at Caesarea until he died and one may presume anyway that he would have been reluctant to leave the library there.
“This survey of Eusebius’ works has manifested Eusebius the scholar, delighting in his extensive erudition and keen to put this erudition to use: helping the growing numbers of pilgrims to the Holy Land, helping Christians to understand the Scriptures, and indeed have access to reliable texts of the Scriptures, and placing on a sound, scholarly basis the credentials of the religion of the Incarnation. All these concerns were focused in what is without doubt his greatest work: The History of the Church.”
Those in Israel Identity will already detect where Eusebius was drifting away from Biblical teachings by the time of the 300rds A.D. As I said, he was not perfect, but in spite of that we need very much the witness of his history. On the other hand, we must give Eusebius credit where credit is due. Can anyone imagine the toil required for producing fifty entirely handwritten Bibles? One must remember that this was nearly 200 years before Justinian I, emperor of the eastern Roman Empire, who set up the power of the papacy which would later restrict the Bible from the common people. One must remember, too, Eusebius gave little history of the Celtic Church set up by Joseph of Arimathaea at Glastonbury in Britain: which was a better model of the true Church which would last for over a thousand years before being sold out to the Church of Rome. What we are looking for in the History Of The Church by Eusebius is the critical history which occurred between the time of Christ and that of Constantine. As Eusebius was seriously aware, it was imperative to lay the foundation for that history with the records already written down by Josephus, and that he did.
EUSEBIUS USES JOSEPHUS TO DATE CHRIST’S APPEARANCE
For this we will quote again from The History Of The Church put out by Penguin Books, translated by G. A. Williamson, pages 17-18:
“The date of Christ’s appearance to men: 5. So now, after this necessary introduction to my proposed History of the Church, let me begin my journey with the appearance of our Saviour in the flesh, first calling on God, the Father of the Word, and Jesus Christ Himself of whom I am speaking, our Saviour, the heavenly Word of God, to be my helper and coworker in producing a truthful record.
“It was the forty-second year of Augustus’s reign, and the twenty-eighth after the subjugation of Egypt and the deaths of Antony and Cleopatra, the last of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt, when our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ, at the time of the first registration, while Quirinius was governor of Syria, in accordance with the prophecies about Him, was born in Bethlehem, in Judaea. This registration in Quirinius’ time is mentioned also by the most famous of Hebrew historians, Flavius Josephus, who gives in addition an account of the Galilean sect which appeared on the scene at the same period, and to which our own Luke refers in the Acts:
“‘After him came the rising of Judas the Galilean at the time of the registration. He persuaded a number of people to revolt under his leadership; but he too perished, and all his followers were dispersed.’
“This statement is supported by the historian referred to above, in Antiquities Book XVIII:
“‘Quirinius, a member of the senate who had filled the minor offices and passed through them all to become consul, and in other ways was a man of great distinction, arrived with a few officials in Syria. He had been sent by Caesar to be supreme judge of the nation and to assess the value of their property ... Judas, a Gaulonite from a city called Gamala, took Zadok, a Pharisee, with him and instigated a revolt. They alleged that the valuation would lead to nothing but complete slavery, and summoned the nation to the defence of their freedom.’
“And in the History of the Jewish War, Book II, he writes this about the same man:
“‘In his time a Galilean named Judas tried to stir the natives to revolt, saying that they would be cowards if they submitted to paying taxes to the Romans, and after serving God accepted human masters’.”
It should be obvious how much more clear all this evidence is in helping us to better understand our Bible. I will now quote again from The History Of The Church put out by Penguin Books, translated by G. A. Williamson, pages 26-27 where Eusebius, with the help of Josephus, dates the period of time that Pilate ruled Judaea:
“Pilate’s date; high priests at the time of Christ’s mission: 9. The accession to power of Archelaus after Herod is confirmed by Josephus, who describes how in accordance with the will of Herod his father and the decision of Caesar Augustus he succeeded to the Judaean kingdom; and how after his fall from power ten years later his brothers Philip and the younger Herod, together with Lysanias, continued to rule their tetrarchies.
“In Antiquities Book XVIII, the same writer informs us that in the twelfth year of Tiberius, who had mounted the imperial throne after the fifty-seven-year reign of Augustus, Judaea was entrusted to Pontius Pilate, and that Pilate remained there ten years, almost till Tiberius’s death. This clearly proves the forged character of the Memoranda so recently published, blackening our Saviour; at the very start the note of time proves the dishonesty of the forgers. If they are to be believed the crime of the Saviour’s Passion must be referred to Tiberius’s fourth consulship, i.e. the seventh year of his reign, but at that time it is clear that Pilate was not yet in charge of Judaea, if we may accept the testimony of Josephus, who explicitly declares, in the passage already quoted, that it was in the twelfth year of his reign that Tiberius appointed Pilate procurator of Judaea.
“10. In their time, when, according to the evangelist, Tiberius Caesar was in the fifteenth year of his reign and Pontius Pilate in the fourth of his governorship, and Herod, Lysanias, and Philip were tetrarchs of the rest of Judaea, our Saviour and Lord, Jesus the Christ of God, beginning His mission at the age of about thirty, came to John’s baptism and then and there set to work preaching the gospel. Holy Scripture further tells us that He completed the whole period of His teaching when Annas and Caiaphas were high priest, showing that the years covering their ministry include the whole period of His teaching. Since, then, He began His mission in the high priesthood of Annas and continued till the reign of Caiaphas, the period covered does not stretch to four complete years. For, at that time the ordinances of the Law were already obsolescent and the rule was no longer operative under which the duties of God’s service were hereditary and lasted for life; the Roman governors bestowed the high priesthood first on one, then on another, and the office was held for not more than a single year. In fact, Josephus records that after Annas there were four successive high priests, Caiaphas being the last. I quote from the book of Antiquities:
“‘Valerius Gratus, after depriving Ananus of the priesthood, appointed as high priest Ishmael son of Phabi; but a little later he removed him and nominated as high priest Eleazar, son of the high priest Ananus. When a year had gone by he removed him in turn and transferred the high priesthood to Simon son of Camithus. He too remained in office no more than a year: he was succeeded by Joseph, also known as Caiaphas.’
“Thus the whole period of our Saviour’s teaching is shown to be actually less than four complete years, four high priests in four years, from Annas to the appointment of Caiaphas, having held office for a twelvemonth. Naturally, the gospel narrative named Caiaphas as high priest in the year in which the events of our Saviour’s Passion were enacted; it also shows that the period of Christ’s teaching harmonizes with the foregoing line of inquiry.
“Not very long after the start of His preaching our Saviour and Lord called the twelve apostles, to whom alone of all His disciples He gave, as a special privilege, the name of apostles. Furthermore, He appointed seventy others; these, too, He sent out two and two ahead of Him to every town or place to which He Himself intended to come.”
Here we have Eusebius with the help of Josephus identifying the religious and political climate which surrounded the ministry and Passion of Christ. Yet there are those who would put all this information to the flame. I would highly suggest that badmouthing Herodotus, Josephus and Eusebius is equivalent to book-burning! I will now quote a passage from Paul L. Maier’s translation of Eusebius’ The Church History where Eusebius describes the fulfillment of Yahshua’s prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple at Matthew 24, on pages 100-103:
“Jesus’ Predictions: 7. Such was the reward for the guilt and impiety of the JewAfter him came the rising of Judas the Galilean at the time of the registration. He persuaded a number of people to revolt under his leadership; but he too perished, and all his followers were disperseds against the Christ of God. It is worth appending to it the infallible prediction of our Savior regarding these very things in this prophecy:
“‘Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For at that time there will be great suffering, such as has not been seen from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be [Matt. 24:19-21].’
“In estimating the total number of lives lost, the historian [Josephus] says that 1.1 million died by famine and the sword, that the partisans and terrorists informed against each other after the city’s capture and were executed, and that the tallest and handsomest of the youths were saved for the triumphal parade. Of the rest, those over seventeen were sent as prisoners to hard labor in Egypt, and even more were divided among the provinces to be killed in the theaters by sword or wild beasts. Those under seventeen were sold into slavery, and the number of these alone was ninety thousand.
“This all happened in the second year of Vespasian’s reign in accordance with the prophecies of Christ, who foresaw them, by divine power, as if already present and wept over them. The holy Evangelist adds his [Christ’s] actual words to Jerusalem herself:
“‘If you even today would recognize the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you [Luke 19:42-44].’
“On another occasion, he said: ‘For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled [Luke 21:23-24].’
“And again: ‘When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near [Luke 21:20].’
“Anyone comparing our Savior’s words with the rest of the historian’s record of the war cannot fail to be astonished or to confess the divine character of the Savior’s prediction.
“As to what happened to the whole nation after the Savior’s passion and the mob’s begging the release of the robber-murderer and the removal of the author of life, there is no need to add to the records. But it would be right to add facts that showed the kindness of a gracious Providence in delaying the destruction of the Jews for forty years after their crime against Christ. All that time, most of the apostles, including the first bishop, James himself, called the Lord’s brother, were still alive, and their remaining in the city provided powerful protection for the place. For God was still patient, hoping that they might finally repent of their misdeeds and find pardon and salvation, but also sending miraculous warnings of what would happen if they failed to repent.
“8. Josephus notes this in the sixth book of The Jewish War: Impostors and false prophets deluded the pitiable people, who, as if moonstruck, blind, and senseless, paid no attention to God’s clear portents and warnings of the approaching desolation. A star stood over the city like a sword, and a comet that lasted for a year. Then, prior to the war, when the people had gathered for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the eighth of Xanthicus at 3 A.M., a light shined on the temple and the altar so brightly that it seemed to be midday, and this lasted for a half hour. To the inexperienced this seemed a good omen, but the sacred scribes gave the true interpretation. During the same feast a cow brought for sacrifice by the high priest gave birth to a lamb in the middle of the temple, and at midnight the eastern gate of the inner sanctuary opened itself – a gate of bronze fastened by iron bars and secured by long bolts so massive that twenty men were required to shut it each evening.
“Not long after the feast, on the twenty-first of Artemisius, a demonic apparition of incredible size was seen. It would have seemed a fairy tale had it not been attested by eyewitnesses and followed by disasters that corresponded to the omens. Before sunset there appeared in the sky over the whole land chariots and armed forces speeding through the clouds and surrounding the cities. And at the Feast of Pentecost, when the priests entered the temple at night for their usual ceremonies, they heard a disturbance, a loud crash, and then a thunderous cry, ‘Let us leave this place!’
“Something even more alarming took place four years before the war, during a time of peace and prosperity. A common peasant, Jesus son of Ananias, came to the Feast of Tabernacles, stood in the temple courts, and suddenly shouted: ‘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!’ Night and day he went through the narrow streets with this cry. Some of the prominent townspeople, enraged at these ominous words, seized the fellow and lashed him savagely. However, he uttered not a word in his own defense but persisted in shouting the same thing. The authorities, assuming correctly that the man’s conduct was inspired by something supernatural, brought him before the Roman governor [Albinus]. There, though he was scourged to the bone, he uttered no plea for mercy and shed no tear, but straining his voice to the utmost, he wailed with each blow, ‘Woe! Woe to Jerusalem!’
“The same writer tells an even more remarkable story in which he claims that an oracle was found in their sacred writings predicting that a man from their land would at that time rule the whole world, and the historian himself thought this was fulfilled in Vespasian. But he did not reign over the whole world, only that part under Roman control, and it would more justifiably be applied to Christ, to whom the Father had said, ‘Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession’ [Ps. 2:8]. And it was by his holy apostles at that very time that ‘their voice went through all the earth and their words to the end of the world’ [Ps. 19:4].”
You can plainly see from this that Eusebius understood that Yahshua’s prophecy at Matthew 24 was the forthcoming destruction of Jerusalem and was not 2000 years in the future, as futurists claim, but imminent at Christ’s time. In December of 2000, I had prepared a brochure on this but I was rebuffed even by those in Israel Identity, so I put the article on hold until a more appropriate time. With Eusebius’ help here, that time has come, and I entitle it as follows:
DEATH OF A KINGDOM & REBIRTH OF ANOTHER
You may be wondering: Why the above title? As you will see later, the words are well chosen. It is a subject where, for a lack of thorough study, many find themselves completely bewildered. To study the New Testament without first mastering the content of the Old Testament is like building a house without a foundation. So it is with the topic we are about to take under consideration. The “Death Of A Kingdom & Rebirth Of Another” is a New Testament fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Because of men’s fanciful reasoning, and without being thoroughly established in the whole Word, it is simply amazing the baseless doctrines which have been concocted with the 24th chapter of Matthew. It is the objective here, once we have exhaustively examined this passage, we will never again have any misgivings concerning this and related Scripture. The premise for the 24th chapter of Matthew is laid in the passages as follows:
Jeremiah 26:18: “Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith Yahweh of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.” (Covered with trees instead of houses.)
Micah 3:12: “Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.”
You may be wondering: What do these two verses have to do with Matthew 24, anyway? To show the significance, I will present a running, verse-by-verse, commentary of this chapter. Before we get started, though, we need to take under advisement three different views of prophecy: (1) Futurists, who project all prophecy into the future, (2) Praeterists who claim all prophecy was fulfilled by 70 A.D., and, (3) Historicists, who see prophecy as a continuing unfolding panorama. Upon the first Bibles being circulated during the Reformation, many saw the Roman Church as anti-Christ. To avoid the heat, one Jesuit priest projected prophecy forward and another Jesuit priest projected it into the past. The “Futurists” hold that the last week of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy was never fulfilled; they chop it off the other 69 weeks and propel it 2000 years in the future when they predict (1) a “rapture”, and then, (2) either a three and a half or a seven year period of tribulation representing Daniel’s 70th week. We need to know all this because these various opinions affect the interpretations of Matthew 24.
I will continue this article, which I wrote back in December of 2000, in the next lesson. When finished, we’ll see how important it is to have the witness of Josephus and Eusebius!