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Through Persecution to Victory. Key source: F. W. Mattox, The Eternal Kingdom: A History of the Church of Christ , Delight, Arkansas: Gospel Light Publishing Company, 1961. Seeming Rebellion. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. Christians share in Christ’s kingdom.

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Through persecution to victory

Through Persecution to Victory

Key source: F. W. Mattox, The Eternal Kingdom: A History of the Church of Christ, Delight, Arkansas: Gospel Light Publishing Company, 1961.


Seeming rebellion
Seeming Rebellion

  • Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.

  • Christians share in Christ’s kingdom.

  • Christians are sealed members of a new covenant.

  • Opposition led to secret meetings, which led to all kinds of suspicion.

    • The development of extreme gnosticism partly led to these charges.

    • Pagan societies, which were illegal, had actually practiced some of the things of which Christians were accused.


Gnosticism
Gnosticism

  • Matter, including the human body, was thought to be evil.

    • One group thought it could only be conquered by depriving it of its desires (asceticism).

    • The other believed the body should be destroyed by indulging its desires until they were satisfied (debauchery).

  • The Apologists explained they could not justify this type of life.

    • They said such actions were not Christian.

    • They also explained Christians are good citizens.


Conflicts with religion
Conflicts with Religion

  • Christians could not take part in the worship of the gods.

    • They were called “atheists,” “godless” and disloyal.

    • When all citizens were called upon to sacrifice, they were conspicuous by their absence.


Gaius caligula 37 41 a d
Gaius (Caligula, 37-41 A.D.)

  • No official persecution

  • When his sister, Drusilla, died, she was deified among the Roman gods as a universal goddess.

  • Caligula then made himself a universal god.

    • Official oaths were taken in his name.

    • People were required to consider him as a deity.

    • When the Jews refused to worship him, the Romans erected images of him in synagogues and outside the temple, with the intention of taking it inside.


Claudius 41 54
Claudius (41-54)

  • Released Jews from obligation to recognize the emperor as deity.

  • Gave Judea to Herod Agrippa who was sympathetic to the Jews.

  • They turned him against the Christians (Acts 12:2).

  • Riots in Rome were said to be at the instigation of Christus and the Christians were expelled (Acts 18:2).


Nero

  • Revolutionary activities of Theudas and “the Egyptian” (Acts 5:36; 21:38) in 53 A.D. were blamed on Christians.

  • Nero came to power in 54 A.D.

  • July 18, 64, fire burned Rome for 6 days

  • Nero blamed it on the Christians

    • Such made them stand out and led to future official persecution

    • Though severe, it was local in nature


Vespasian 69 79 and domitian 81 96
Vespasian (69-79) and Domitian (81-96)

  • All Christians withdrew from Jerusalem before the final siege began.

  • Vespasian’s son, Domitian, began to think of himself as divine and instituted persecution against Christians.

  • However, through his reign, Christians were still viewed as a sect of the Jews.


Trajan 98 117
Trajan (98-117)

  • A clear distinction was made between Christians and Jews.

  • The Romans looked on deification of the emperor as necessary to the existence of the state.

  • Christianity was referred to as superstitition


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