God’s Unchangeable Purpose with Israel, part 9—Conclusion
The British Royal Family connection with the Apostle Paul
Before we get to the book of Revelation, I want to take a substantial and significant detour now, because when we factor in some additional information, your understanding of the time of the apostles will be greatly enhanced.
You know that there are certain portions of the Bible that most people consider boring. Those portions in Numbers and Chronicles, for example, where it lists all the “begats”—you know what I mean.
Well, I would suppose that most of us have usually skimmed over Romans 16 also. Why? Because it contains Paul’s long list of “say hello to so and so for me.” And we know virtually nothing about any of those persons, so we usually skip those verses. Well, let me just call a few of them to your attention.
Romans 16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus…
7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen…
And then down in verse 13 there is a man named Rufus.
13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
So, who were these people: Andronicus, Rufus, etc.? The Bible mentions very few of them more than once. Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned six times. But they are the exception. To find out more about some of these people, we need to turn to secular accounts.
There is a wealth of information about many of the early disciples in extra-biblical sources. This church at Rome to whom Paul addressed his epistle is a truly fascinating study, but to understand Paul’s circumstances as he wrote to them and was later under house arrest in Rome, we need to back up about 20 years or so, to the years immediately after the crucifixion.
We need to pick up the story with Joseph of Arimathea. Who was this man? We have mentioned him before in our studies. In my lecture called Feed My Sheep, [see CD #s 509, 510 on page 7 of Master Order Form] where Peter gained entrance into the trial of Jesus, I speculated that it was Joseph of Arimathea who pulled the necessary strings to get Peter admitted.
Joseph of Arimathea was the younger brother of the father of the Virgin Mary. Therefore, he was her uncle and the great-uncle of Jesus. Joseph, the husband of Mary, died while Jesus was young, and by Hebrew law, the male who was next of kin was responsible for the welfare of the survivors. Thus, Mary and Jesus were under the legal guardianship of Joseph of Arimathea.
This man was extraordinarily wealthy. He was a high official of the Roman Empire, the minister of mines. But this did not mean he lived on a federal government salary. Joseph owned the mines, tin mines in Cornwall, England—which wasn’t called England yet, of course.
He had other mines, too. And he had shipping interests as well. The military might of Rome depended greatly upon tin and this why I have called Joseph the Lockheed or Northrup-Grumman, the major defense contractor of his day.
The Scriptures tell us very little about Joseph. Only that he was a disciple of our Lord, that he was from Arimathea which was in Mt. Ephraim, that he was rich, that he was an honorable counselor, that he went boldly to Pilate for the body of Jesus, and not much more.
And so I want to share with you some excerpts from a very thrilling book called The Drama of the Lost Disciples, by George Jowett. I read it many years ago, and was enthralled by it. I recently re-read it and again was very moved by it. With a bit of searching, it can be found for free download online.
It reports ancient church history sources which state that many Christians fled Judea in the year 36 AD, and that “In that year the party mentioned was exposed to the sea in a vessel without sails or oars. The vessel drifted finally to Marseilles and they were saved. From Marseilles Joseph and his company passed into Britain and after preaching the Gospel there, died.”
You see, Joseph was an honorable counselor, which was a reference to his membership in the Sanhedrin, the ruling Jewish body in Judea. He, of course, opposed the moves against Jesus, but despite his wealth and power, the Jews who hated Christ were making life extremely difficult for Christians. As we know from the life of Saul-Paul, they were killing followers of The Way. From p. 33:
“The expulsion of Joseph and his companions in an oarless boat without sails would be in keeping with the malicious design of the Sanhedrin. They dared not openly destroy him, and instead, conceived an ulterior method hoping their ingenious treachery would eventually consign Joseph and his companions to a watery grave.
Little did they realize that, by this subtle act of ridding themselves of the outstanding champion of Christ, their very hope for destruction would be circumvented by an act of providence. Their perfidy made it possible for the forgotten Fathers of Christianity to congregate in a new land where they would be free of molestation.”
So, there was a group of disciples with Joseph in the boat. Who were they? Quoting again from The Drama of the Lost Disciples, which I will henceforth simply refer to as The Drama.
“It is amazing how nonchalantly the records deal with this important matter. Various existing records agree …naming among the occupants of the castaway boat Mary Magdalene, Martha, the handmaiden Marcella, Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead, and Maximin the man whose sight Jesus restored.
“…Other records state that Philip and James accompanied Joseph. Others report that Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were occupants of the boat. That there were many congregated at this time is obvious by the manner in which the various names appear in the early Gallic church records.”
Philip the apostle was a major player in the region of southern Gaul, modern France, and it was he who consecrated Joseph as the apostle to Britain. Speaking of Gaul, the ancient writers claim that Paul’s epistle to the Galatians was addressed to the inhabitants of Gaul, not to the tiny colony of Gauls in Asia Minor. Regardless of which area it was, the inhabitants were of lost Israel.
Joseph did not remain long in Gaul. “A British Druidic delegation of bishops arrived at Marseilles to greet him and extend an enthusiastic invitation to Joseph, urging him to return to Britain with them and there teach the Christ Gospel. This magnanimous invitation was enlarged upon by the Druidic emissaries of the British Prince Arviragus, offering Joseph lands, a safe haven and protection against Roman molestation.
Arviragus was Prince of the noble Silures of Britain, in the Dukedom of Cornwall. He was the son of King Cunobelinus, and cousin to the renowned British warrior-patriot, Caradoc, whom the Romans named Caractacus. Together, they represented the Royal Silurian dynasty, the most powerful warrior kingdom in Britain, from whom the Tudor kings and queens of England had their descent….
Joseph and Arviragus were well known to each other long prior to the invitation; consequently we can well believe he had acquired many influential friends in the south of Britain during the years he had administered his mining interests in Cornwall and Devon.
“In the traditions of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Wales, it has ever been believed and claimed that Jesus as a boy accompanied his uncle to Britain on at least one of his many seafaring trips; then later, as a young man. During those silent years preceding his ministry it is avowed that Jesus, after leaving India, journeyed to Britain and there founded a retreat, building a wattle altar to the glory of God.”
So Joseph and his twelve companions settled on almost 2,000 acres of land given them in perpetuity by Arviragus. This land was on the Isle of Avalon at Glastonbury. They taught the good news of the Messiah and it was immediately well received.
“The Druidic Archbishops recognized that the old order was fulfilled according to prophecy, and with the coming of Christ and His atonement the new dispensation had arrived. In this light of understanding, Druids and Judean Apostles marched forward together firmly wedded in the name of Christ. It was never marred with the persecution, bloodshed and martyrdom that accompanied the teaching of the Christ Gospel in Rome.”
After describing the conditions of persecution and martyrdom for Christians in Rome, Mr. Jowett continues:
“Such were the conditions that prevailed in Rome at the time of our story, but unconsciously the tide had begun to turn against the Romans, with the marriage of Arviragus, the Christian King, to Venus Julia, daughter of the Emperor Claudius, a.d. 45.
Venus, known as Venissa, in the British records, had been converted by Joseph after her arrival in Britain with her husband. Since his recall from Britain, Aulus Plautius had resided at Rome with his wife, Pomponia Graecina, the sister of Caractacus (the British warrior-patriot, Caradoc), and they are referred to as a Christian family.
Plautius, with his position as a nobleman of great wealth and Pomponia, with her brilliance and golden beauty and as a leader of Roman society, certainly would exert considerable influence.
“Now, the most important and by far the most extraordinary event was to take place that was eventually to swing the tide in favour of the Christian cause at Rome.
“Strange as it may seem, this incredible situation was created by the Emperor himself, the very man who had sworn by his Edict to exterminate Christianity. Probably it is the most astounding incident in Christian history, showing how God can use even His bitterest enemies to work out His divine purpose.”
This “most astounding incident” is a long story, much too long to relate here. It concerns the attempt by the Roman Empire to conquer newly-Christianized Britain, and in the process how some of the Royal British family were intermarried to the family of the horrible Roman Emperor, Claudius! …and how some were related to the apostle Paul, as indicated by Paul’s words in Romans 16:13. “… and his mother and mine.” So I recommend the book, The Drama of the Lost Disciples, for those readers interested in pursuing it.
Now we can conclude our study with a very brief look at the book of Revelation. As all Bible students know, the book of Revelation is something all its own.
It contains hundreds of allusions and symbolic references to Israel, not to mention the outright and unmistakable references to Israel. We will just shoot right to the end of the book, which is the end of the New Covenant Scriptures.
Revelation 21:10 describes the holy city, the New Jerusalem. Some ministers will tell you it represents heaven; others will say it is the glorified church. I say it is the purified nation of Israel.
Revelation 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And now, compare that description with this.
Revelation 21:9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
Yes, Yahweh-God in the Old Testament had married the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai. Centuries later, He divorced her for adultery, cast her out of His house and sent her into captivity. He put her away and punished her. Now at the consummation of the ages, God, in the form of Jesus Christ the Son, will remarry the nation of Israel.
That is what John is describing here in figurative language. Notice in describing the bride in verse 12, he is describing Israel!
12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
And now to Revelation 22 where we will conclude…What a tremendous heritage we have. But we, the Israel nation, receive it one by one. We receive it individually only as we accept by faith the work done by Jesus Christ on our behalf.
Ultimately, we arrive at the place—or I think it would be more accurate to describe it as another realm, another dimension, if you will, a higher dimension, a heavenly dimension, beyond space and time whereas it says:
Revelation 22: 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
That is your inheritance, brothers and sisters. Do you believe it? Do you want that inheritance? So be it! And Amen! (End of God’s Unchangeable Purpose with Israel)
[For other resources along these lines see the book section in our Master Order Form. The books of E. Raymond Capt, the books by Steven M. Collins, along with Judah’s Sceptre and Joseph’s Birthright are all excellent.]