What Happened to the Jewish Church?
Part 2: Change of Leadership
What Happened to the Jewish Church?
Part 2: Change of Leadership
5. Destroying the Church Leadership
     Beginning in 67 AD and lasting through 73AD, an event occurred that would change the entire course of the Christ's Church described in Part 1. Certainly, its leadership would change as well as it's policies.
     In 67 AD Titus, Emperor of Rome, invaded Israel with a special wrath that left approximately 5 million Israelites dead and their Temple physically destroyed. Needless to say, the church was scattered, and surviving Jews spread out all over the world, nationless, as their country was obliterated.
     A period of persecution also began against the Church in an effort of Rome to destroy the Christian faith: that faith defined as justification by grace through faith, with salvation to all, Jewish and Gentile [Galatians 3:28], by the shed blood of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah of Israel.
     By the time John, the Apostle wrote the Revelation on Patmos island around 95 - 100 AD, all of the (Jewish) writers of the New Testament were dead, as they were brutally murdered under the persecution of Rome. Let's look at Dr. Jack Van Impe's summation of the martyrdom of the Jewish Apostles contained in his work entitled: "The Judgment Seat of Christ"
Excerpt: "The Judgment Seat of Christ" by JVI

Eight men wrote the New Testament. Seven were murdered. Matthew was slain with an halberd. Mark was dragged through the streets of Alexandria by a team of wild horses until dead. Luke was hanged in an olive tree. John, thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, survived the painful ordeal but was disfigured for life and banned to the isle of Patmos.

One day he undoubtedly saw his seared face reflected in a stream of water and wept. God said unto him, "Son, cheer up. I will allow you to write 1 John 3:2 which promises new bodies to all of My children." It says When he shall appear, we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is. What joy must have filled the suffering servant's soul as he realized a better day was coming in which he would be changed to be like Jesus.

Paul was beheaded. Jude and Peter crucified and James was battered to death with a fuller's club. *Now get the future picture:* the great hour has arrived and all God's children are present. The investigation begins. What will each of us say as we stand with such an array of heros-believers who gave all, who proved their first love for Christ during and entire lifetime-even unto death!

6. The New Heads of the Church
A. Constantine
       With the Church scattered all over the world and the Church leadership dead by martyrdom, a new Church leader clad in military armor would direct the Church on a new path. This leader was Roman Emperor Constantine.
     During the fourth century after the Emperor Constantine came into power, he found himself at war with rival Roman candidates for the rank of Caesar, for which cause he thought it wise to incorporate into the Roman populous, the support of the suppressed Christian church rather than alienate it.
     Constantine claimed that while on a military campaign at Susa and Turin, he had seen in a vision which appeared as a cross in the sky surrounded by the words "IN THIS SIGN SHALT THOU CONQUER." As a result Emperor Constantine declared both himself and all of his armies to be Christians.
     This "conversion by imperial decree" was definitely new (JUDE 1:7). Another decree from Constantine was that no person could hold a major position in the government that was not a Christian. When these jobs were threatened, suddenly many more people became "believers". What would happen in 21st century Washington, DC. if such a decree went out saying that in order to hold a job one must be a born again Christian? The same that happened back then in the fourth century. Many became "Christians" overnight.
B. The Pope of Rome
       Based on Matthew 16:18 this Church under new leadership centered at Rome instituted a religious Head of the Church under Constantine called the "Pope". The basis of this Bishop of Rome's authority is symbolized in the two-finger sign often seen given by the holder of this office. This two-finger sign stands for the two pillars on which the Church (supposedly a continuation of the Church born at Pentecost) would rest.
Apostolic SuccessionTemporal Power
The Pope's claim of direct descendancy of authority which first resided with Peter The right of the Church to rule the world until the return of Christ.
     Thus, in the fourth century, this was exactly the foundation that the Church leadership considered itself to be standing on after it's takeover of leadership and consolidation of power. Constantine as the head of the Church and of the Roman Empire, conquering the world with his armies [ i.e. Temporal Power], and the establishment of a Pope who could only be a Roman citizen, as the spiritual leader of the Church, who claimed "Apostolic Succession", and had complete sovereignty of decision making power over church matters.
     This was quite a switch from the leadership that Christ ordained. A military man, Constantine, claiming to see a cross in the sky and the words "IN THIS SIGN CONQUER" while the great commission of Christ had given instructions to the Apostles to take the Gospel to that world and baptize them, teaching them all of His commandments. Also, 1st Timothy 3:6 teaches that a novice is not to be in leadership of the Church.
       Secondly, a religious man in a leadership position over the Church claiming "Apostolic Succession" and "Temporal Power" is problematic in that Christ taught us; "My Kingdom is not of this world" [John 18:36].
     Upon observing these changes, the Jewish Church, that was now scattered and assimilated into other nations, would have, I suppose, began to wonder of the intergrity of these actions in the Church. When the policies of this new leadership would become pronounced in the councils meetings of the fourth century, there would be little left to wonder about.
Part III


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 Web Author:Michael Stevenson Updated: 12/16/2004 6:55PM