The Glorious Church #3 – Against All Odds

For 2,000 years, the Church has either been up…or getting up off the floor.  She has withstood more opposition than any other single institution in history, with more challenges to her very existence over the last 2,000 years than She should ever have been able to withstand…

Yet stand she does, bearing the scars of many battles, both internal and external, over many centuries. The Church should not even exist today – Her continuous presence over 2,000 years defies logic and reason, and leaves one with only one possible rationale – the hand of God Himself must be resting upon Her.  Today, as we conclude this series on the Body Christ, we catch a glimpse of her true character demonstrated through the centuries – that of the Church Triumphant.


 

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EVENT

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33

DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST

Jesus Christ was arrested, sentenced to death and crucified. Most of his followers scattered, including Peter, Jesus’ choice as new Head of the Church, who denied Christ three times that night.  Jesus is buried in a borrowed tomb. He arose the third day, appearing to his disciples and then ascending back to Heaven, commanding the Church to go into the whole world and spread His message. For the first 300 years, most of those who did were executed for their faith.

44

APOSTLE JAMES THE LESSER BEHEADED

Apostle James was arrested and led to execution. His unnamed accuser was moved by his courage, and not only repented and converted, but asked to be executed beside James. Both were beheaded.

54

APOSTLE PHILIP CRUCIFIED

Apostle Philip became a missionary in Asia. He traveled to the Egyptian city of Heliopolis, where he was scourged, thrown into prison, and crucified

61

APOSTLE SIMON THE CANAANITE CRUCIFIED

Apostle Simon the Canaanite AKA the Zealot visited Britain twice, and on the 2nd mission, he was crucified there.

64

APOSTLE JAMES KILLED WITH A CLUB

Apostle James (possibly the brother of Jesus) was elected the head of the Church in Jerusalem. At age 94, he was beaten and stoned by persecutors, who then killed him by hitting him in the head with a club.

64

NERO AND THE GREAT FIRE OF ROME

Beginning of Roman persecution of Christians, under Emperor Nero, who blamed the Church for the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. Some historians think he ordered the fire and blamed Christians because they were already hated. Many Christians died at this time.

64

APOSTLE PETER CRUCIFIED UPSIDE DOWN

Apostle Peter, first Head of this new Early Church, was arrested under orders of Emperor Nero and was crucified upside down at his own request

67

APOSTLE PAUL BEHEADED

Emperor Nero condemned Apostle Paul to death by decapitation.

69

APOSTLE ANDREW CRUCIFIED

Apostle Andrew, the brother of Peter, went to Patras in western Greece, where the Roman proconsul Aegeates had him scourged, tied rather than nailed to a cross, so he would suffer longer. He lived for two days, during which he preached to passersby.

70

APOSTLE BARTHOLOMEW SKINNED ALIVE, BEHEADED

Apostle Bartholomew preached in several countries, including India, where he translated the Gospel of Matthew for believers. IThere, he was skinned alive and then beheaded.

72

APOSTLE THADDAEUS CRUCIFIED

Apostle Thaddeus, according to several stories, crucified at Edessa

72

APOSTLE THOMAS SPEARED

“Doubting” Thomas went to preach the gospel in Greece and India, where he angered local religious authorities, who martyred him by running him through with a spear on December 21.

74

APOSTLE MATTHEW STABBED TO DEATH

Apostle Matthew, former tax collector turned missionary was martyred in Ethiopia, where he was supposedly stabbed in the back by a swordsman sent by King Hertacus after he criticized the king’s morals.

80

EMPEROR DOMITIAN DEVELOPS EMPEROR WORSHIP

Emperor Domitian revived the practice of the imperial cult, which had fallen somewhat out of use under Vespasian. Significantly, his first act as an Emperor was the deification of his brother Titus. In 95 AD, Domitian executed or exiled several family members on charges of “atheism”. Members of the Senate were terrified of him, but in the end, he was assassinated by them.

100

DEATH OF JOHN – END OF THE APOSTOLIC AGE

The Apostle John was the only one of the original disciples not to die a violent death. According to Tertullian (in The Prescription of Heretics), John was to be plunged into boiling oil in the Colosseum in Rome, which seated between 50,000 and 80,000 people. But a great miracle took place, and John did not suffer any harm. Historians reported that the entire audience of the Colosseum were converted to Christianity because of this great miracle, during the reign of Emperor Domitian. John was then banished for the rest of his life to the Isle of Patmos.  There, he received the Revelation of Jesus, which became the last Book of the Bible. He died there, 30 years after the other Apostles.

107

BISHOP OF JERUSALEM EXECUTED

Simeon, cousin of Jesus and Bishop of Jerusalem, was killed for political (anti-Semitic) reasons

110

BISHOP OF ANTIOCH MARTYRED

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, martyred in Rome

156

POLYCARP, BISHOP OF SMYRNA, MARTYRED

Polycarp was one of the greatest stories of martyrdom in the history of the Early Church. A 2nd-century Christian bishop of Smyrna, he had been a disciple of the Apostle John. He died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, but the flames would not burn him. So he was stabbed when the fire wouldn’t kill him, but he bled out so much, he put out the fire.

202

EMPEROR SEVERUS FORBIDS CHRISTIAN CONVERSIONS

Emperor Septimius Severus forbids conversions to Christianity Judaism)

250

WIDESPREAD PERSECUTION OF THE CHURCH

Emperor Decius decrees Empire-wide persecution of the Church. Many Christians were killed, and others denied the faith to escape persecution – which heavily influenced the development of Christianity, shaping Christian theology and the structure of the Church – and helped spark explanations and defenses of the Christian religion.

313

CONSTANTINE GIVETH, LICINIUS TAKETH AWAY

Roman Emperor Constantine the Great had become a Christian believer.  Emperor Licinius had wed Constantine’s half-sister Constantia, and the two leaders split the empire between them. Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which granted rights to Christians and restored their property. Licinius was not a believer, however, and within 7 years, he marched against Constantine – both wanted the entire Roman Empire. In 320, Licinius expelled believers from the army and civil service and killed some for their faith.

389

PAGANS PERSECUTED

Christianity was never so faithful to the Cross than under persecution When Christianity was made the state church of the Roman Empire in 380 AD, the Church became corrupt and barbaric. In AD 392, pagan religions were outlawed, and Christian monks persecuted them and robbed from their temples. Pagans were forced out of government offices by AD 416 to demand they convert.

476

END OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

In September, 476 AD, the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by a Germanic prince, and the Dark Ages began in Europe – a time when the Church took great control over the people and brought much evil and paganism into the Church

478

THE DARK AGES

The cause of this “Dark Age” was the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the waves of invasions that followed. Many believed the Church caused or significantly contributed to the fall of the Western Empire, and the resulting corruption of the leaders of the Church in Rome damaged the reputation of the Church to this day.

601

PAGAN RITUALS IN THE CHURCH

Pope Gregory encouraged Augustine to go to the Anglo Saxons to be a missionary, but encouraged him to turn the pagan temples he found into Churches, keep some of the pagan ceremonies and incorporate them into Christianity – which was totally blasphemous.

772

SAXON WARS

During the Saxon Wars, the Christian king Charlemagne waged war on the pagan Saxons for over 20 years, seeking to Christianize and rule them. In AD 782, Charlemagne massacred 4,500 rebel Saxon prisoners and made it a law that one must convert to Christianity….or die. The Saxons were the last groups to be converted by Christian missionaries, and mostly because of death threats.

1054

EAST-WEST SCHISM SPLITS THE CHURCH

The East-West Schism, also called the Great Schism, was the church split between present Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox churches, which has lasted since the 11th century. Three men all claimed to be Pope at the same time, causing a split for the next 1,000 years. Under a mysterious set of circumstances, Pope Francis and the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church met urgently together in 2017 for reasons unknown, for the first time in 1,000 years. The head of the Orthodox Church then went to Antarctica and performed a bizarre ceremony, consecrating the land to God.

1095

FIRST CRUSADE AGAINST ISLAM

The First Crusade (1095–1099) attempted to recapture the Holy Land, called for by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095. Crusaders conquered the Holy Land, culminating in the July 1099 re-conquest of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

1147

SECOND CRUSADE AGAINST ISLAM

A great defeat for Christian armies, the only significant success of the Second Crusade came when 13,000 Flemish, Frisian, Norman, English, Scottish, and German crusaders in 1147 travelled from England to Portugal, where they stopped and helped the Portuguese army expel the Muslims from their capital Lisbon.

1189

THIRD CRUSADE AGAINST ISLAM

The Third Crusade , also known as The Kings’ Crusade, was an attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin. They conquered Acre and Jaffa, reversing most of Saladin’s conquests, but didn’t capture Jerusalem. The Pope had a heart attack and died when he heard the news about Jerusalem.

1202

FOURTH CRUSADE AGAINST ISLAM

The Fourth Crusade, called by Pope Innocent III, originally intended to reconquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, a series of events ended with the Crusaders sacking the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Christian-controlled Byzantine Empire.

1217

FIFTH CRUSADE AGAINST ISLAM

The Fifth Crusade was an attempt by Western Europeans to re-conquer Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land by first conquering the powerful Ayyubid state in Egypt. Their attacks on Jerusalem ended in defeat

1228

SIXTH CRUSADE AGAINST ISLAM

The Sixth Crusade started as an attempt to regain Jerusalem but involved very little fighting. The Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II negotiated the Kingdom of Jerusalem into regaining some control over Jerusalem for most of the next fifteen years (1229–39, 1241–44) as well as over other areas of the Holy Land.

1248

SEVENTH CRUSADE AGAINST ISLAM

The Seventh Crusade was led by King Louis IX of France, but he was defeated by the Egyptian army, and captured by the Muslim armies, who demanded 800,000 gold coins for his release and return to France.

1270

EIGHTH CRUSADE AGAINST ISLAM

The Eighth Crusade was launched again by Louis IX of against the city of Tunis, but he died just after arriving on the shores of Tunisia, with his disease-ridden army dispersing back to Europe shortly afterwards.

1271

NINTH CRUSADE AGAINST ISLAM

King Edward sailed to Acre, Israel, and saw several impressive victories – but he eventually had to withdraw because of issues at home. Soon after, the last remaining crusader stronghold on the Mediterranean coast was destroyed.  The last Crusade had been lost.

1478

SPANISH INQUISITION

The King and Queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella began this horrific reign of terror against Jews, pagans, Muslims and anyone else that would convert to Christianity. The nightmare went on for over 250 years, and saw 150,000 convicted of “crimes”, and up to 5,000 executed

1517

THE REFORMATION

The Protestant Reformation was a church split in Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther and continued by John Calvin and others in 16th-century Europe. It started with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther in 1517. Catholic doctrine teaches to this day that Protestant Christians will not go to Heaven and ironically, Protestants believe the same of most Catholics.

1536

PORTUGUESE INQUISITION

The major target of the Portuguese Inquisition were those who had converted from Judaism to Catholicism, but were thought to still be practising Jews. Many of these were originally Spanish Jews who had left Spain for Portugal, when Spain forced Jews to convert to Christianity or leave. The number sentenced is estimated at around 40,000 and over 1,000 were executed.

1542

ROMAN INQUISITION

The Church begins to target itself for annihilation when this Inquisition was declared by the Pope in Rome. Responsible for prosecuting individuals accused of committing offenses relating to heresy, including Protestantism, sorcery, immorality, blasphemy, Judaizing and witchcraft, as well as for censorship of printed literature. The most famous victims were Copernicus, who devised a theory that the Sun was at the center of the universe, and the famed astronomer Galileo, who was put under house arrest for the rest of his life. Between 50,000 and 70,000 cases were tried, and 1,500 were executed.

1854

MARY WORSHIP BEGINS

The Catholic Church elevated Mary to the level of mediator, advocate, and co-redeemer of humanity, in direct contradiction of Scriptures. Pope Pius IX declared Mary “immaculate,” or sinless, thus giving her the position of mediator, in opposition to 1 Timothy 2:5:”For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”.

1890

MEXICAN CHRISTIANS MARTYRED

The number of Catholics killed in Mexico from the late 1800s to 1930 is estimated at 107,000,

1899

BOXER REBELLION

The Boxer Rebellion in China is responsible for at least 200,000 Christians and foreigners being executed.

1917

RUSSIAN REVOLUTION AND SOVIET UNION KILLS MILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS

Czar Nicholas and his family are assassinated in the Russian Revolution, and Christianity is declared illegal by the  Communists. The state advocated the destruction of religion, and it pronounced religion to be superstitious and backward. The Communist Party destroyed churches, ridiculed, harassed, incarcerated and executed religious leaders, flooded the schools and media with anti-religious teachings. The total number of Christian victims under the Soviet regime has been estimated to range between 14-22 million.

1933

THE NAZI NIGHTMARE

Atheists and neo-Nazis today like to claim Adolf Hitler was a Christian – nothing could be further from the truth. Under the dictator and his Nazi Party, thousands of Lutheran pastors were executed, along with up to 1 million Christian believers during the war.

1949

COMMUNIST CHINA KILLS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIANS

An estimated 700,000 Christians are martyred by Communist China.

1950

NORTH KOREA KILLS BELIEVERS

Before World War II missionaries were active throughout the Korean Peninsula, then a Japanese colony, and more than a fifth of the population was Christian – about 2 million people. Between 300,000 and 500,000 Christians are believed to remain in North Korea today, with hundreds of thousands sent to the largest concentration camp system in the world.

1971

UGANDAN CHRISTIANS MARTYRED

300,000 Christians are believed to have been killed under Idi Amin in Uganda between 1971 and 1979.

2014

BOKO HARAM SLAUGHTERS CHRISTIANS IN NIGERIA

Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, The Taliban and ISIS begin a reign of terror throughout the world against the Church of Jesus Christ.  In this photo, Boko Haram set fire to a Nigerian church, murdering dozens of Christians 

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By  Shawn J., Founder,
Calling Out Community
Posted: February 26, 2018
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]

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