Timing the Book of Revelation

Timing is everything for the proper interpretation of the book of Revelation. Various theories have developed concerning the interpretation of the book of Revelation that have ignored when it was written or when it concludes. These theories take advantage of the symbolic nature of the book to express ideas that are beyond the scope of the book itself. We are directed to confine ourselves to the things written in the book without adding to it or taking away from it (Rev. 22:18-19). Identifying the beginning and ending points in the book of Revelation will ensure we do not step outside our given guidelines.

Timing the Beginning Point

The Apostle John, the author of the book of Revelation, opens the book defining when the prophecies will begin. In the very first sentence he writes, “things which must shortly take place.” Two sentences later he adds, “for the time is near.” The prophecies in the book of Revelation began shortly after John wrote the book. In fact, the first observable prophecy was near to the time he finished writing the book.

A little later in the first chapter Jesus tells John, “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this” (Rev. 1:19). The emphasis is not on past events. A prophecy is not prophetic if it reveals those things that already took place. It would defy the very definition of the word prophecy. John declared, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy (Rev. 1:3).

According to many historical sources, John wrote the book of Revelation about 97 A.D. This date will serve as the starting point for all prophecies contained in the book of Revelation. The first observable prophecy in the book of revelation was recorded in the opening of the 5th seal. “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held” (Rev. 6:9). In the year 107 A.D., less than 11 years after John wrote the book of Revelation, Emperor Trajan was persecuting Christians unto death.

“Pliny the Second… seeing the lamentable slaughter of Christians, and moved therewith to pity, wrote to Trajan, certifying him that there were many thousands of them daily put to death, of which none did anything contrary to the Roman laws worthy of persecution.”[i]

Ignatius, an early church father, an Elder of the church in Antioch and a disciple of the Apostle John, was martyred, reportedly in the ninth year of Trajan’s reign.[ii] Trajan himself examined Ignatius and sentenced him to be fed to wild animals in the amphitheater of Rome.

Timing the End Point

The ending of the prophecies in the book of Revelation is also definable. With the exception of Chapters 19 to 22 that clearly refer to the end of time and the judgement to come, John’s vision tells us that point when the prophecies end. It is described for us in Revelation chapters 17 and 18.

“And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!”’ (Rev 18:2). Babylon in this prophecy is the city of Rome. In the previous chapter, the woman that rides the beast is called, “Babylon the great” (Rev. 17:5) and is further identified as “that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (Rev. 17:18). The city of Rome was the capital of the Roman empire.

The destruction of Rome in this prophecy was so complete that it’s ruin was described as desolate. “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate’” (Rev. 18:19).

Arthur Ogden, a well-known preterit among churches of Christ insists that Rome could not be the symbolic Babylon because it was called the “Eternal City” and “it has never been destroyed.”[iii] However, history would disagree.

There are at least two historical references that state Rome was destroyed. Procopius of Caesarea (c. 500 – c. 554 A.D.) was a historian who wrote this description of Rome as it existed in 546 A.D. “In Rome he suffered nothing human to remain, leaving it altogether, in every part, a perfect desert.”[iv] This quote is believed to derive from his book, History of the Wars. Therein, Procopius wrote in some detail, “As for the Romans, however, he kept the members of the senate with him, while all the others together with their wives and children he sent to Campania, refusing to allow a single soul in Rome, but leaving it entirely deserted.”[v]

Marcellinus Comes was a chronicler in Constantinople (d. 534 A.D.). An unknown writer wrote in his chronicle, The Chronicles of Marcellinus, this statement about Rome: “Everything that had belonged to the Romans was carried away, and also the Romans themselves were led into Campania – captives. And after this devastation, Rome was so desolate, that, for forty days or more there was to be seen in it not a single inhabitant, but only wild beasts.”[vi] The word desolate is the same word the Apostle John used to describe the end result of the symbolic city of Babylon (Rev. 18:19).

Edward Gibbons in his work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, echoed the same understanding that Rome was destroyed and abandoned. The Gothic king Totila took Rome in December, 546 A.D. and decreed “that Rome should be changed into a pasture for cattle.”[vii] The remaining citizens of Rome were taken captive “and during forty days Rome was abandoned to desolate and dreary solitude.”[viii] After which a Roman general “visited with pity and reverence the vacant space of the eternal city.”[ix]

The eternal city was first given that nickname by “the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC.”[x] The designation was nothing more than a romantic idea of a beloved city with the hope for a long existence. The nickname has nothing to do with the reality of history.

Regardless, Rome that is called Babylon in the book of Revelation says it “shall not be found anymore” (Rev. 18:21). Obviously, Rome still exists to this day. However, the original site with its antiquity laden structures have not been reconstructed since the destruction took place. The sight remains an archaeological treasure not to mention the 3rd most significant tourist site in the world.

Much of the prophetic description given in the book of Jeremiah (Jer. 50 and 51) to describe Babylon’s destruction is similar to the description of Rome’s destruction in the book of Revelation. It seems the Apostle John is literally describing Babylon as it prophetically alludes to Rome in the book of Revelation. It should not trouble us that a phrase that historically depicts Babylon as not being found is applied to Rome as an empire.

Further, it should be argued that Rome was the capital and embodiment of the Roman Empire. As Rome goes, so does the empire. The Roman empire was never resurrected after Rome fell in 546 A.D. The Roman Empire certainly has never been found anymore.

These facts should serve as ample evidence for the ending point of the prophecies through chapter 18 in the book of Revelation. If the book of Revelation is basically chronological in order, then all the events or circumstances from Revelation chapters 6 through 18 should be found between the years 97 A.D. and 546 A.D. Any interpretation outside these dates for these chapters would add to the things contained in the prophecy of the book of Revelation. Ignoring the things historically contained within these dates for these chapters would take away from the words of the prophecy in the book of Revelation (Rev. 22:18-19).

Surely, the Lord is coming quickly (Rev. 22:20)!

[i] John Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, William Byron Forbush, ed., Chapter II

[ii] “The Martyrdom of Ignatius,” Ante-Nicene Fathers, Alexander Roberts, D. D., ed., Hendrickson Publishers, 1995, Vol. 1, p. 129.

[iii] Arthur M. Ogden, The Avenging of the Apostles and Prophets, Ogden Publications, Somerset, KY, 1991, p. 443, 446.

[iv] John Miley, Rome as it was Under Paganism and as it Became Under the Popes, J. Maddon and Company, London, 1843, vol. 2, p. 196.

[v] Procopius, History of the Wars, VII, xxii.

[vi] Miley, vol. 2, p. 196.

[vii] Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Robert Maynard Hutchins, ed. in chief, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1952, vol. 2, p. 57.

[viii] ibid

[ix] ibid

[x] “Rome,” Wikipedia.

Is a Judgment Day Coming Upon God’s People?

God’s word is infallible (2 Tim. 3:16-17). As such, every word is inspired of God. God wrote the Bible via inspired men through the Holy Spirit. There are no contradictions in scripture. If a contradiction seems to exist, that alone is proof of error. For example, if I take the position that only non-Christians are subject to God’s Judgment and I find a single verse in the Bible that says otherwise, that is proof that my argument is wrong.

2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (NKJV) Paul wrote the second letter to the Corinthian Brethren. The pronoun “we” would specifically include the Apostle himself and the brethren he is writing. That means Paul expects to stand before Christ in the Judgment to come along with all Christians that ever lived (a necessary inference). In fact, Paul implies that if he had done anything wrong while he lived, he would deservedly receive punishment as his reward at that time.

Paul repeated this understanding in Rom. 14:10. He wrote to the Brethren in Rome saying, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (NKJV) In no uncertain terms, Paul says we will all be judged by Christ. Again, the “we” includes Paul and all the Brethren in Rome. In fact, Paul implies that Brethren who show contempt for other brethren will receive a deservedly just punishment at that time.

Was Paul the only Apostle to hold such a radically confrontational position? Doesn’t Paul know that Christians do not sin (1 John 3:9)? Doesn’t Paul know that Christians who live righteously all their lives already know they are going to heaven? Doesn’t Paul know that everyone in Paradise automatically gets to go to Heaven? (I write facetiously.) Obviously, Paul knows more on this subject than we know.

The Apostle John agrees with Paul’s statements concerning the Judgment to come. “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world” (1 Jn. 4:17; NKJV). The pronoun “we” would include John himself needing boldness in the day of Judgment. Why would John and the Christians that he writes need boldness on the Judgment day unless there is a chance that some of them could be eternally lost?

The Apostle Peter would agree that Christians will be judged on the judgment day. He wrote, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God” (1 Pet. 4:17; NKJV)? Peter expects to be part of the house of God (i.e. the Church) that will be judged on that great day. Notice the judgment begins with Christians of which Peter includes himself. He implies that beginning hasn’t taken place yet. In other words, judgment is not an ongoing process as people die. Judgment is a time specific event in the future.

In the explanation of the Parable of the Tares Jesus makes this statement, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:41-42; NKJV). Though Jesus does not say the event He is referring to is the Judgment, it seems rather logical that it could only be the Judgment as the Christians that are gathered out of His kingdom are thrown into the fire “at the end of this age” (Matt. 13:40).

Jesus and three apostles affirm that Christians will be judged on the Judgment Day. So how is it that some people claim that only non-Christians will be subject to the judgement?

Some well-meaning members of the church will turn to Romans 8:1 where it says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” In error, they infer that the Greek word translated here for condemnation (katakrima) means judgment. However, that Greek word does not carry the idea of judgment. Rather it is ‘“the sentence pronounced, the condemnation” with a suggestion of punishment following”’ (Vines Complete Expository Dictionary). To infer “condemnation” here means judgment is to be deceptive.

Scriptures are quite clear that everyone will give an account for themselves on the Judgment Day (Acts 17:31; Rom. 14:11-12; Heb. 9:27). All it takes to lose our soul is to commit one unrepentant sin (Jas. 2:10). Is it not possible for Christians to die in their sins? Peter warned the brethren “to make your call and election sure” (2 Pet. 1:10). That implies that brethren can fail to make their call and election sure! Brethren do err (Jas. 1:18). We can’t say brethren who err never were Christians to start with because these passages call them brethren; a term that denotes Christians. Nor can we say that their sins remove them from the Church. Christ is the only one who can add us to the Church (Acts 2:47). Sins separate us from God, hopefully only for a time, but sins do not remove Christians from the Kingdom. Removal from the Kingdom takes place for those who deserve it at the Judgment Day (Matt. 13:41). Notice again that Christ will “gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness.” Obviously, erring brethren must be in the Kingdom in order for the Lord to remove them from the Kingdom.

There are three parables that further illustrate that Christians will be removed from the Kingdom on the Judgment day.

In the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matt. 22:2-14), the church is likened to a wedding feast. Both good and bad people composed the attendees. Yet, the King only removed the man who was unprepared (i.e. without garments) and cast him into outer darkness.

The Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30) illustrates a servant of the Lord who sinned by omission. We find him giving an account of himself before he is removed into outer darkness.

In the Parable of the Dragnet (Matt. 13:47-50) the church is likened to this dragnet. Good and bad people are gathered into it. “At the end of the age,” they are separated.

Remember, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:21-23; NKJV)! The interesting thing about this glimpse into the Judgment Day is the fact that those who are protesting their verdict are Christians that don’t have a clue until this moment that they are wicked. The “many” in this predicament confess Christ as Lord. They could prophesy, cast out demons and perform miraculous deeds. For a first century Christian to do those things, they had to be a member of the Lord’s Church that was given said gifts by an Apostle. Obviously, they erred along life’s road. Yet, they were unaware of their final fate.

Where would these erring brethren be in Hades? If they were in torment they would already know their fate just like the rich man (Lk. 16:19-31). Since they died in the first century, the only possible location they could be in is Paradise. Just because Christians find themselves in Paradise is not a guarantee they will go to Heaven. The thief on the cross is another perfect example (Lk. 23:43). Just because the thief went to Paradise does not imply his eternal destiny. Theft was a sin under the Old Law. The thief on the cross will have to account for his conduct just like anyone else on the Judgment Day.

In the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16), most of the laborers thought it wasn’t fair to give those who worked less the same reward. Some in the Church think it is unfair that erring brethren should await the Judgment in comfort if their final reward is Hell. The upset laborers told the landowner, “you made them equal to us who have borne the heat of the day.” The landowner responded, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?” We need to stop and think who we are that would think God must conform His will in any respect to our preconceived notions. The only reason we would object to Paradise not being exclusive to Heaven bound Saints is because we see the Lord’s mercy toward those who will eventually lose their soul as somehow wrong. God’s ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8).

God has not lied to anyone concerning Paradise. There is no scripture that connects Paradise as the exclusive waiting place for the saved. We are the ones who reason that if Torment is for the lost then Paradise is for the saved. But that is our assumption based on logic; not truth. Isn’t it better to accept God’s word as truth? “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).

We have learned that everyone must appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive our just reward or punishment. On the Judgment Day, Christ will separate the good from the bad out of His Kingdom. All this will occur at the end of the age… not at death. A Judgment Day is coming for God’s people!

By Steve A. Hamilton

For Stomach Sake

Many people like to use 1 Timothy 5:23 as justification to drink alcohol. After all, Timothy is being told to drink wine by the Apostle Paul. To those who use this line of thought, it makes no difference how much wine is being drank or the reason for its use; all that matters is the sanction being given to Timothy to drink an intoxicating beverage.

First of all, we should point out again that the word wine as used in the English versions of the Bible does not necessitate the assumption that it is alcoholic. In fact, Paul recognizes that Timothy doesn’t even consume wine. Paul tells Timothy, “No longer drink only water…” (NKJV). Timothy apparently was abstinent in regard to wine. The same was true concerning John the Baptist (Lk. 1:15). Also, the apostle James “drank neither wine nor fermented liquors.”[i]

Timothy, like all Disciples of Christ, believed in keeping oneself pure in body and spirit (1 Tim. 5:22; Rom. 8:10-13; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 1 Thes. 5:23). Timothy, as a protégé of Paul, would have been sensitive to the conscience of other brethren. Paul instructed the Romans in this regard by saying, “It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.” (Rom. 14:21).   Further, if Timothy has any aspirations to become an Elder one day he is well aware of the restriction placed upon those who serve in that office (1 Tim. 3:2-3; Tit. 1:7).  Timothy didn’t drink wine!

It also makes little sense for Paul to instruct Timothy to violate his abstinence from fermented wine. Those of us who ardently restrain ourselves from alcohol would be highly offended at the suggestion to drink a glass of wine for some medical benefit. Paul knows Timothy well enough not to make such a blunder in his advice. Rather, Paul advices Timothy to “use a little wine for stomach sake…”  (1 Tim. 5:23). Paul doesn’t say “drink” wine but to “use” or “take” a little wine. That sounds very much like a doctor’s prescription. Paul is not sanctioning the drinking of an alcoholic beverage even if it was fermented. He says to take a little wine!

It happens to be recorded in ancient history that unfermented wine was used for medicinal purposes. Pliny, a Roman historian (A.D. 24-79), in his book Natural History, reports, “Ten quarts of white must and half that quantity of water are kept boiling till a considerable amount of water is boiled away… This drink is given to invalids [from aegris meaning the sick] for whom it is feared that wine may be harmful.” Later in his book he states that fermented wine was also used for medical purposes but makes this observation, “Wines are most beneficial when all their potency has been overcome by the strainer.”  Athenaeus (A.D. 280) specifically recommends the use of unfermented wine for the stomach. “Let him take sweet wine, either mixed with water or warmed, especially that kind called protropos, the sweet Lesbian glukus, as being good for the stomach; for sweet wine does not make the head heavy” (Athenaeus, Banquet, pp. 24).

Given these statements, it becomes painfully obvious that Paul was not and would not recommend an alcoholic beverage to Timothy for his frequent infirmities. Rather, Paul was recommending a little bit of unfermented wine (boiled must that is most likely mixed with water) for his stomach problems. Such a remedy for soothing heart burn or indigestion would be consistent with such a recommendation from Paul.

[i] Eusebius quoting Hegesippus, Ecclesiastical History, II, 23, 5.

The Story of Christ From His Betrayal to His Death

A chronological account compiled by Steve Hamilton using the New Kings James Version of the Bible.

John 18:1-3

“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.  Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.”

Matt. 26:48

“Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.””

John 18:4-9

“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.””

Matt. 26:49

“Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.”

Luke 22:48

“But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?””

Mark 14:46

“Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him.”

Luke 22:49

“When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?””

John 18:10

“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.”

Luke 22:51

“But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.”

Matt. 26:52-56

“But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.”

John 18:12-25

“Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year. Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself. The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine. Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. “Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.” And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?” Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not!”

Luke 22:59a

“Then after about an hour had passed,…”

John 18:26

“One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”

Luke 22:60-62

“But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So Peter went out and wept bitterly.”

Matt. 26:57

“And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.”

Mark 14:55-65

“Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree. Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.'” But not even then did their testimony agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? “You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands.”

Luke 22:65-71

“And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him. As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying, “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will by no means believe. And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go. Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.” Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?” So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.” And they said, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.””

John 18:28-32

“Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” They answered and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.” Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,” that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.”

Luke 23:2

“And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.””

John 18:33-38

“Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.”

Matt. 27:12-14

“And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.”

Luke 23:4-16

“So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.” But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.” When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean. And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.  And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other. Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. I will therefore chastise Him and release Him””

Mark 15:6-10

“Now at the feast he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to them, whomever they requested. And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion. Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them. But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.

Matt. 27:19-30

“While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.” And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.”

John 19:4-16

“Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.” Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.” When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away.”

Matt. 27:31

“And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.”

John 19:17

“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.”

Mark 15:21

“Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.”

Luke 23:27-32

“And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”‘ For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?” There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death.”

Matt. 27:33-34

“And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.”

Luke 23:33b-34a

“…there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

John 19:19-24

“Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”‘” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.”

Matt. 27:36

“Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.”

Mark 15:25

“Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.”

Mark 15:28

“So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with the transgressors.””

Matt. 27:39-43

“And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.'””

Luke 23:39-43

“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”  But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.””

John 19:25-27

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”

Mark 15:33-35

“Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!””

John 19:28-30

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

Luke 23:46

“And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.'” Having said this, He breathed His last.”

Matt. 27:51-54

“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!””

Luke 23:48-49

“And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”

John 19:31-37

“Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”

“CRUCIFIXION, a form of punishment in which the condemned person was fastened to a cross to die of exposure and exhaustion. It meant many hours of intense suffering and torture. First used by various eastern peoples, it was adopted by Rome as a death of shame from which Roman citizens were exempted. The Jews used it only after they came under Roman rule. It was finally abolished by Emperor Constantine after the Romans had employed it in persecuting the Christians.” (The American Peoples Encyclopedia)

 Christ died for you! (1 Cor. 11:26-29; 1 John 4:9-10)



Our Founding Fathers on Religion in Government

Compiled by Steve A. Hamilton

George Washington:

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.”

“What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.” [speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs May 12, 1779]

“Although guided by our excellent Constitution in the discharge of official duties, and actuated, through the whole course of my public life, solely by a wish to promote the best interests of our country; yet, without the beneficial interposition of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, we could not have reached the distinguished situation which we have attained with such unprecedented rapidity. To HIM, therefore, should we bow with gratitude and reverence, and endeavor to merit a continuance of HIS special favors”. [1797 letter to John Adams]

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity religion and morality are indispensable supports.”  [Speech Sept. 17, 1796]

“Without a humble imitation of the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, we can never hope to be a happy nation.”

“(T)he propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained” [First Inaugural, April 30 1789]

Benjamin Franklin:

“The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” [Constitutional Convention of 1787]

“In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered… do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?” [Constitutional Convention, Thursday June 28, 1787]

 Alexander Hamilton:

“For my own part, I sincerely esteem it [the Constitution] a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.” [1787 after the Constitutional Convention]

 U.S. Congress 1782:

“The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

Samuel Adams:

“He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all… Our forefathers opened the Bible to all.” [ “American Independence,” August 1, 1776. Speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia]

“The right of the colonist as Christians…may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Lawgiver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.” [“The Rights of the Colonists”]

John Adams:

“The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” [October 11, 1798]

 John Quincy Adams:

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

“The United States of America were no longer Colonies. They were an independent nation of Christians.”

 James Madison:

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” [1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia] At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, James Madison proposed the plan to divide the central government into three branches. He discovered this model of government from the Bible in Isaiah 33:22; “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; He will save us.”

Charles Carroll:

” Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.” [Source: To James McHenry on November 4, 1800.]

Patrick Henry:

“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” [May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses]

“The great pillars of all government and of social life… [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.”

Thomas Jefferson:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” [Source: Merrill . D. Peterson, ed., Jefferson Writings, (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984), Vol. IV, p. 289. From Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781.]

Benjamin Rush:

“I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them…we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible; for this Divine Book, above all others, constitutes the soul of republicanism.”

“By withholding the knowledge of [the Scriptures] from children, we deprive ourselves of the best means of awakening moral sensibility in their minds.” [Letter written (1790’s) in Defense of the Bible in all schools in America]

“Let the children who are sent to those schools be taught to read and write and above all, let both sexes be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education” [Letters of Benjamin Rush, “To the citizens of Philadelphia: A Plan for Free Schools”, March 28, 1787]

“I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am perfectly satisfied that the Union of the States in its form and adoption is as much the work of a Devine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testaments.”

Daniel Webster:

“Our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be entrusted on any other foundation than religious principle, not any government secure which is not supported by moral habits…. Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.”

Jedediah Morse:

“To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. . . . Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.”

Noah Webster:

“The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scripture ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evil men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed…No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.” [Source: 1828, in the preface to his American Dictionary of the English Language]

“Let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God [Exodus 18:21]. . . . If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted . . . If our government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. [The History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie and Peck, 1832), pp. 336-337, 49]

Joseph Story:

“I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.” [Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States p. 593]

“At the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration [i.e., the First Amendment], the general, if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship.” [Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States p. 593]

”There is not a truth to be gathered from history more certain, or more momentous, than this: that civil liberty cannot long be separated from religious liberty without danger, and ultimately without destruction to both. Wherever religious liberty exists, it will, first or last, bring in and establish political liberty.”

James Wilson:

“Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority for that law which is divine…far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.”

John Jay:

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” [Source: October 12, 1816. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed., (New York: Burt Franklin, 1970), Vol. IV, p. 393.]

“Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration than it seems yet to have generally received either from the clergy or the laity. It appears to me that what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat about his attachment to Ahab [“Shouldest thou help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord?” 2 Chronicles 19:2] affords a salutary lesson.” [The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, 1794-1826, Henry P. Johnston, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1893), Vol. IV, p.365]

Samuel Johnston:

“It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans (Muslims), pagans, etc., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President or other high office, [unless] first the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves.” [Elliot’s Debates, Vol. IV, pp 198-199, Governor Samuel Johnston, July 30, 1788 at the North Carolina Ratifying Convention]

James McHenry:

”Public utility pleads most forcibly for the general distribution of the Holy Scriptures. The doctrine they preach, the obligations they impose, the punishment they threaten, the rewards they promise, the stamp and image of divinity they bear, which produces a conviction of their truths, can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses, and at the same time enjoy quiet conscience.”