Do Not Weep for Nicomedia

The Ruins of Nicomedia
Ancient Nicomedia remains in ruins to this day.

Readers on this site have read our claim on several occasions that Roman Catholicism arose at the latter end of the fourth century, and no earlier. We have opined on this particular matter under the titles, What the Fathers Feared Most, One Kingdom Too Late, and A See of One, among others. We have endeavored to show, and will continue to demonstrate, that Roman Catholicism arose three hundred years after the apostolic era, and when it did rise, her ordinances were foreign to the precepts of Christ, abhorrent to His saints, and contrary to the teachings of His apostles and prophets—although they foresaw its coming and emphatically warned against it.

We have made no small effort to point out that the several signs to indicate the rise of Antichrist—as provided by the apostles and prophets themselves—converge with remarkable precision in the latter half of the fourth century. The division of the Roman Empire, the rise of the Papacy under the rubric of Petrine succession, the transfer of the bones of Ss. Timothy, Andrew and Luke to Constantinople, the veneration of the martyrs and relics, the sacrifice of the mass, intercession of the saints, clerical celibacy, the elevation of virginity and fasting over marriage and lawful consumption, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the transfer of the title Pontifex from the Roman Emperor to the Pope—all happened in the latter half of the fourth century. Some of these occurred within a single decade, and others within a single calendar year, but all after 350 A.D.. We therefore hold firmly that the rise of Roman Catholicism and her false gospel and rampant idolatry was the great “falling away” of which Paul warned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first…” and that apostasy took place in the latter half of the fourth century.

But that raises the question of what happened to the actual Church of Jesus Christ in the latter half of that century?

Was it subsumed under the mantle of Roman Catholicism, falling with her into apostasy? Did it sacrifice its doctrinal purity for the sake of a worldly, pragmatic unity with Roman Catholicism, the heir apparent of the Roman Empire? Did it disappear from the face of the earth, only to re-emerge at the dawn of the Protestant Reformation? When was the Church of Christ separated and preserved from the Antichrist, of whom the apostles and prophets had so adamantly warned?

The answers to these questions are, in order,

  • No.
  • No.
  • No, and
  • August 23, 358 A.D.

We will expand upon all these questions in time, but today we will simply fix the date in our fourth answer. We will do so by analyzing the Seven Seals of Revelation which pinpoint for us the very day on which God marked out His people to preserve them from the error and the wrath to come, and importantly, to separate His Church from Roman Catholicism, the very Antichrist that was about to arise.

The Seven Seals

The Book of Revelation from God to Jesus by his angel to John, is intended “to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass” (Revelation 1:1). Since the term “to pass” is literally ginomai, or “become,” we take this first verse of Revelation to mean that these “things” must shortly begin. Some things prophesied in the book are to take as many as 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-2), and a millennium does not pass “shortly.” These things were to begin in the very near future.

Having introduced the Book, and dictated seven letters to the Seven Angels of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor (Revelation 2-3), the angel then takes John “in the spirit” to heaven where he hears a voice tell him, “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (Revelation 4:1). After describing the throne room of heaven (Revelation 4:2-11) the first thing John sees is a book sealed with Seven Seals, but the only One worthy to open them is the Lamb of God (Revelation 5:1-14). The Lamb then begins to open the seals in rapid succession. Among all the “things which must shortly come to pass” and “which must be hereafter,” the opening of those Seven Seals feature prominently.

Because the Book of Revelation was written to the Churches of Asia Minor during the Roman Empire, we understand that the events described would be experienced by these churches themselves, and that under the Roman Empire. These events were not millennia away. They were soon to begin.

The First Seal (226 A.D.)

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. (Revelation 6:1-2)

Of Noah’s three sons, Jephath settled in the isles of the gentiles, or Greece (Genesis 10:1-5), Shem settled what is known as Arabia (Genesis 10:21-31), and Ham settled what is known as Babylon and Assyria in greater Mesopotamia (Genesis 10:6-20). Among all the descendants of Noah in Genesis 10, only one of them, Ham’s grandson Nimrod, is identified by occupation, for he “was a mighty hunter before the LORD” (Genesis 10:9). Nimrod is not identified as an archer but as a “hunter”, and “hunter” here literally means venison, and venison is hunted with a bow (Genesis 27:3). Isaiah describes the men of Elam and Kir from Babylon and Mesopotamia as those who “bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen” (Isaiah 22:6). They are horse-archers.

We take this First Horseman therefore to signify the rise of the Sasanian Empire. The Sasanian Empire conquered the Parthian Empire, and its first king, Ardashir I was crowned Shahanshah, or “King of Kings,” in a coronation ceremony in 226 A.D.. The Sasanian empire was known for its horse-archers, and would trouble the Roman Empire at its eastern boundary for years to come. Thus we understand the First Horseman to signify the rise of the Sasanian Empire that “had a bow” and was given a crown and “went forth conquering, and to conquer,” in 226 A.D.

The Second Seal (235 A.D.)

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

The rise of the Sasanian Empire was only the beginning of Rome’s troubles in the third century. The period from 235 – 284 A.D. is called “The Crisis of the Third Century,” during which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed from internal and external pressures. “The Crisis began with the assassination of Emperor Alexander Severus at the hands of his own troops, initiating a fifty-year period in which 20–25 claimants to the title of Emperor, mostly prominent Roman army generals, assumed imperial power over all or part of the Empire.” The period was complicated by a humiliating defeat in the East at the hands of the Sasanians (the Battle of Edessa, 260 A.D.), and by the end of the Crisis, the Empire had been split into three competing states with rival emperors and rival armies. The emperor “beareth not the sword in vain” (Romans 13:4), and rules by “the ordinance of God” (Romans 13:2) Who may grant peace on earth, or remove it, at His pleasure.

We take this Second Horseman therefore to signify “The Crisis of the Third Century,” from 235 – 284 A.D., when peace was taken from the Roman Empire by the “great sword”—that is, the sword of the emperors themselves.

The Third Seal (301 A.D.)

“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny [denarius], and three measures of barley for a penny [denarius]; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)

Emperor Diocletian came to power in 284 A.D. and inherited an unprecedented military, economic and political crisis. To stop the constant internal quest for power by rival emperors, he spent his first ten years reorganizing the empire, forming the Tetrarchy under which four rulers (two Augusti and two Caesars) ruled over four quarters of the Empire. Rome remained the capital city of the empire, but the Tetrarchs themselves governed from the Four Tetrarch Capitals of Nicomedia (in modern Turkey), Sirmium (in modern Serbia), Mediolanum (in modern Italy) and Augusta Trevororum (in modern Germany). Diocletian took up residence in Nicomedia from which capital he governed the eastern quarter.

But there were other problems to be solved. During “The Crisis of the Third Century,” the internal trade network, once the engine of wealth for the entire Roman Empire, was disrupted and the currency was gradually devalued as more and more coins were minted with cheaper and cheaper metals, resulting in hyperinflation. Diocletian’s next order of business, therefore, was to address the problem of a destabilized denarius. Unfortunately, Diocletian did what politicians usually do, and his actions had the opposite of the intended effect.

Instead of correcting the Empire’s monetary policy, he blamed the crisis on profiteering, and attempted to solve the problem by fixing prices. He issued the Edict on Maximum Prices in 301 A.D., and established prices for every possible commodity in the empire—including wheat, barley, oil and wine—expressing the maximum allowable market price for each in terms of the dominant currency, the Roman denarius. The results were lamentably predictable. With prices set below market clearing levels, consumers lacked the price disincentive to consumption, and producers lacked the profit incentive to production, resulting in chronic scarcity:

“He … attempted by an ordinance to limit their prices. Then much blood was shed for the veriest trifles; men were afraid to expose aught to sale, and the scarcity became more excessive and grievous than ever.” (Lactantius, Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died, ch. 7)

We note that the Third Horseman was carrying scales (which measure weight) but announced prices by the quart (a measure of volume). Because scales signify justice and integrity (Leviticus 19:36; Amos 8:5), we take the Horseman’s scales to refer to Diocletian’s concern that the problem was a moral issue, not an economic one. His Edict on Maximum Prices condemned “with great vehemence, … the extortion and inhumanity of the vendors and merchants” (Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. I, (New York: Harper & Sons, ©1898) 696n). In other words, he assumed that the current market prices were a result of injustice, not a matter of imperial mismanagement of the Roman economy.

Equally significant is that even though the Edict itself was issued in the names of all four Tetrarchs, the only copies ever found (with one exception) have been in Diocletian’s quarter of the empire: “Numerous fragments of the official Latin text and of Greek copies of the edict are extant, all (except for one found in Italy) coming from the eastern provinces” (Lewis & Reinhold, Roman Civilization Selected Readings: vol II The Empire, p. 421). As Professor E. J. Doyle of Stanford University notes, there is substantial evidence for us to “not believe that the inscription belongs to Italy,” not the least of which is that the price list is written in Greek. Based on the evidence, the Edict appears to have been ignored in the west, and enforced “mainly in the eastern part of the empire, where Diocletian ruled.”

It is notable, therefore, that the main suppliers of olive oil in the Roman Empire were the central and western regions of Roman Africa, Spain and Italy; and the main suppliers of wine were the central and western regions of Britain, Spain, France, Gaul and Italy. Thus, oil and wine production were dominant in the quarters least impacted by Diocletian’s Edict, and grain production was dominant in the quarter most impacted by it—particularly Egypt, which was not only the bread basket of the empire but was also located in the Diocese of the East, which fell under Diocletian’s rule.

We take this Third Horseman therefore to signify Diocletian’s “Edict of Maximum Prices” in 301 A.D.. His misguided price fixing hit grain producing regions the hardest, and hit oil and wine producing regions the least, thus fulfilling the Horseman’s description of grain scarcity, but “see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (Revelation 6:6).

The Fourth Seal (303 A.D.)

“And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:7-8)

Diocletian’s recent decentralization of Rome’s power structure would make it difficult for anyone to attempt a military coup in the future, since there were now four rulers to displace, not just one, each ruler presiding over one fourth of the empire. There were also now four administrative centers, the Tetrach Capitals. As we noted above, each ruler administered his quarter of the empire from his newly established Capital, and Diocletian’s administrative center was Nicomedia. He was the senior of the four, which is why the last and most brutal persecution of Christians in that era is called the Diocletian Persecution, even though there were four emperors—two Caesars and two Augusti—reigning at the time. Four successive Edicts against Christianity were published, beginning in 303 A.D., and all originated from Nicomedia:

  • First Edict, February 23, 303, ordered the destruction of Christian scriptures, liturgical books, and places of worship, prohibited Christians from assembling for worship, and denied to them both rights and rank.
  • Second Edict, Summer of 303 A.D.: ordering the arrest and imprisonment of the clergy.
  • Third Edict, November 20, 303 A.D.: Edict of general amnesty. Any imprisoned clergyman could now be freed, so long as he agreed to make a sacrifice to the gods.
  • Fourth Edict, April 30, 304 A.D.: Ordered all persons, men, women, and children, to gather in a public space and offer a collective sacrifice. If they refused, they were to be executed.

Throughout this period, Christians died from exposure, execution by sword and fire, starvation, and damnatio ad bestias, which is to say, condemnation to death by wild beasts. After Diocletian’s retirement in 305 A.D., the persecution continued, largely concentrated in the eastern quadrant, and a Fifth Edict was issued, again from Nicomedia:

“The persecution raged longest and most fiercely in the East under the rule of Galerius and his barbarous nephew Maximin Daza, who was intrusted by Diocletian before his retirement with the dignity of Caesar and the extreme command of Egypt and Syria. He issued in autumn, 308, a fifth edict of persecution, which commanded that all males with their wives and servants, and even their children, should sacrifice and actually taste the accursed offerings, and that all provisions in the markets should be sprinkled with sacrificial wine. This monstrous law introduced a reign of terror for two years, and left the Christians no alternative but apostasy or starvation. All the pains, which iron and steel, fire and sword, rack and cross, wild beasts and beastly men could inflict, were employed to gain the useless end.” (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, § 24. The Diocletian Persecution, a.d. 303–311).

As Jesus had overcome “hell” and “death” (Revelation 1:18), and asked His saints to be faithful unto death as well (Revelation 2:10), we understand the Fourth Horseman (“Death, and Hell followed with him” (Revelation 6:7)) to signify this period during which the saints followed after their Savior, overcoming Hell and Death… by dying. The martyrs prevailed in death, as Paul had written in triumphant anticipation, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave [hades], where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55), and as John had written, “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11).

We take this Fourth Horseman therefore to signify the first eight years of the Diocletian Persecution (303 – 311 A.D.), which was authorized under the authority of the Tetrarch in Nicomedia from which city he ruled in his quarter of the empire, fulfilling Revelation 6:8, “And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”

The Fifth Seal (311 A.D.)

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Revelation 6:9-11)

The Diocletian Persecution did not end in 311 A.D.. In fact, after a brief relapse, Maximin, “the tyrant in the East” (Eusebius, Church History, Book IX, ch. 1.1) renewed the persecution with even more intensity. The entire persecution lasted precisely ten years, and did not officially come to an end until the Edict of Milan in February of 313, “to which Maximin also, shortly before his suicide, was compelled to give his consent at Nicomedia.” (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, § 25. The Edicts of Toleration, a.d. 311–313)

We therefore understand the Diocletian Persecution to be the “ten day” tribulation Jesus foretold to the saints in Smyrna: “behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10). (This is based on the “day for a year” principle, c.f. Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6).)

The breaking of the Fifth Seal prompts an appeal from the martyrs to the Lord, wondering when their deaths would be avenged. The question is one that would be asked if the persecution appeared to be over, and the answer is one that would be given if the full “ten days” of the persecution had not yet been completed. The martyrs are told to be patient “for a little season” until their full number is reached. We understand therefore that the Fifth Seal takes place two years before the end of the ten year persecution, during a lapse that Eusebius calls “the pretended relaxation.” It was during this time that Christians who had been in hiding returned in throngs:

“…one could see in every city congregations gathered and assemblies thronged, and meetings held according to their custom. … Happily and joyfully they passed through every city, full of unspeakable pleasure and boldness …. Great crowds of men pursued their journey along the highways and through the market-places, praising God with hymns and psalms.” (Eusebius, Church History, Book IX, ch. 1.8,10-11).

But the persecution was not over. “Not long afterward, however, … we were obliged again to endure exile and severe persecutions, … so that even some of those illustrious in the Divine Word were seized and had sentence of death pronounced upon them without mercy … so that this persecution which was stirred up against us seem far more cruel than the former.” (Eusebius, Church History, Book IX, ch. VI.1).  We therefore understand the Fifth Seal to signify the pretended relaxation, eight years into the Diocletian Persecution—and two years before it was finally ended by the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D.

The Sixth Seal (August 23, 358 A.D.)

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:11-16)

It was from Nicomedia, the Tetrarch Capital of the East, that the edicts of persecution had originated, and it was Nicomedia that would suffer under the wrath of God for what it had done to His precious saints. The wrath depicted in the Sixth Seal is the day of God’s vengeance, for so Isaiah 34:4-8 describes it:

“And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. …For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance…”

We understand therefore that the Sixth Seal describes not merely a day of vengeance, but the Day of Vengeance for which the saints had prayed, a day in which Nicomedia would pay for what it had done. This day, August 23, 358 A.D., would be the day that the inhabitants of Nicomedia sat helpless under the wrath of God, as the earth moved beneath them and the mountains fell down upon their heads, and they were made to suffer the way the Lord’s saints had suffered for those awful ten years. What happened that day to Nicomedia is best told by the Roman Historian, Ammianus Marcellinus:

“This year also some terrible earthquakes took place in Macedonia, Asia Minor, and Pontus, and their repeated shocks overthrew many towns, and even mountains. But the most remarkable of all the manifold disasters which they caused was the entire ruin of Nicomedia, the metropolis of Bithynia; which which I will here relate with truth and brevity.

On the 23rd of August, at daybreak, some heavy black clouds suddenly obscured the sky, which just before was quite fair. And the sun was so wholly concealed that it was impossible to see what was near or even quite close, so completely did a thick lurid darkness settle on the ground, preventing the least use of the eyes.

Presently, as if the supreme deity were himself letting loose his fatal wrath, and stirring up the winds from their hinges, a violent raging storm descended, by the fury of which the groaning mountains were struck, and the crash of the waves on the shore was heard to a vast distance. And then followed typhoons and whirlwinds with a horrid trembling of the earth, throwing down the whole city and its suburbs.

And as most of the houses were built on the slopes of the hills, they now fell down one over the other, while all around resounded with the vast crash of their fall. In the mean time the tops of the hills re-echoed all sorts of noises, as well as outcries of men seeking their wives and children, and other relations.

At last, after two hours, or at least within three, the air became again clear and serene, and disclosed the destruction which till then was unseen. Some, overwhelmed by the enormous masses of ruins which had fallen upon them, were crushed to death. Some were buried up to the neck, and might have been saved if there had been any timely help at hand, but perished for want of assistance ; others were transfixed by the points of beams projecting forth, on which they hung suspended.

Here was seen a crowd of persons slain by one blow; there a promiscuous heap of corpses piled in various ways some were buried beneath the roofs of falling houses, which leant over so as to protect them from any actual blows, but reserved them for an agonizing death by starvation. Among whom was Aristaenetus, who, with the authority of deputy, governed Bithynia, which had been recently erected into a province ; and to which Constantius had given the name of Piety, in honour of his wife Eusebia, (a Greek word, equivalent to Pietas in Latin) ; and he perished thus by a lingering death.

Others who were overwhelmed by the sudden fall of vast buildings, are still lying entombed beneath the immovable masses. Some with their skulls fractured, or their shoulders or legs cut through, lay between life and death, imploring aid from others suffering equally with themselves; but in spite of their entreaties they were abandoned.” (Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman History, Book XVII, Ch. VII.1-7)

So swift and terrible was this destruction that rained down upon Nicomedia that Libanius composed a monody, lamenting before the gods that such a fine city should be wholly destroyed in such a fashion: “Can I see such a city, a city no longer … unmourned, unwept?”

We therefore understand the Sixth Seal to be the Day of Vengeance, the day for which the martyrs had prayed from beneath the altar in heaven, on which day “there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black … And the heaven departed as a scroll,” and the wrath of God was revealed from heaven against this city of Nicomedia that had orchestrated the merciless persecution of the saints of God.

 The Seventh Seal (shortly after the Sixth)

“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” (Revelation 8:1-5)

We will allow Marcellinus to pick up his narration where he left off on his remarkable description of what happened to Nicomedia:

“Not but what the greater part of the temples and buildings and of the citizens also would have escaped unhurt, if a fire had not suddenly broken out, which raged with great violence for fifty days and nights, and destroyed all that remained.” (Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman History, Book XVII, Ch. VII.1-7)

Because the fire of the altar was cast down to earth in response to the prayers of the saints, we understand that the Seventh Seal is a continuation of the wrath of the Lord against Nicomedia, and fire was poured down upon that city with a vengeance, consuming with flames the people and property that remained. We also note, according to Ezekiel 10:2-7, that just before the coals are taken from the altar and thrown to earth, “the brightness of the LORD’S glory” fills the house. As Zechariah 2:13 and Habukkuk 2:20 instruct us, there is to be silence when the glory of the Lord fills the temple. This time, the temple is in Heaven, and that is where the silence occurs. Only after there is silence in Heaven for half an hour—during which span the brightness of the Lord fills the temple—does the angel take the coals and cast them down upon Nicomedia, in the final answer to the prayers of the martyrs.

Here we will end our discussion on the Seven Seals, noting only that something quite important happened between the Sixth and the Seventh. As God had in the past marked His people to preserve them from the wrath to come (see Ezekiel 9), so was His Church marked for preservation. Just as the angels in Ezekiel 10 took “coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter[ed] them over the city” (Ezekiel 10:2) only after God’s people had been marked on their foreheads, so did the angels of Revelation 8 pour out fire on Nicomedia only after the Church of Jesus Christ had been marked for preservation.

Between the earthquake and the fire in Nicomedia that August morning, the wind subsided and angels “sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (Revelation 7:1-4). At this time, the Twelve Tribes of Israel were sealed against the wrath that was yet to come upon the earth, but with one curious omission: the Tribe of Dan was left out of the list, and the Tribe of Manasses substituted in its place. That Tribe of Dan, which Abraham described as “a serpent by the way” (Genesis 49:17), was also the first Tribe to succumb to Idolatry (Judges 18:1-30). And the idolatry of Roman Catholicism was about to rise upon the earth.

We will also note that with the breaking of the Seventh Seal, “the seven angels which stood before God … were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:2). The Seven Trumpets would begin to sound within the year.

71 thoughts on “Do Not Weep for Nicomedia”

  1. Tim,

    I was reading and had to stop to share this with you. You wrote:

    “The Book of Revelation from God to Jesus by his angel to John, is intended “to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass” (Revelation 1:1). Since the term “to pass” is literally ginomai, or “become,” we take this first verse of Revelation to mean that these “things” must shortly begin. Some things prophesied in the book are to take as many as 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-2), and a millennium does not pass “shortly.” These things were to begin in the very near future.”

    This is very correct. The problem that most preterists have is that they believe things much shortly come to pass, meaning that since they hold to the book of revelation being written prior to 70AD, and that the book of revelation being fulfilled in 70AD with the destruction of Jerusalem, they argue that “come to pass” means it is all fulfilled. This is the Jesuit error.

    The fact is as you have stated…meaning that things will now begin in history, and not “come to pass” in the literal meaning. They literal sense of the text is start to begin.

    Nice job…crushing one side of the Jesuit argument in the very first opening of your article. The Jesuits only have futurism left to argue as we have destroyed the preterist theory.

    1. “We understand therefore that the Sixth Seal describes not merely a day of vengeance, but the Day of Vengeance for which the saints had prayed, a day that Nicomedia would pay for what it had done. ”

      It’s interesting how a theory will crumble when it’s built on a poor foundation. The biggest mistake is Nicodemia itself. It’s demise could hardly be considered THE Day of Vengeance.

      Here’s why:
      Nicomedia was the metropolis of Bithynia under the Roman Empire, and Diocletian made it the eastern capital city of the Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis (Üsküdar) in 324.”

      This all fits into place in your theory, Nicomedia being the Seat of Government for the Romans at that time. And it should follow, then, that the Seat of Power that persecuted the Christians would be punished by God’s wrath.

      But here’s the problem:
      “Constantine mainly resided in Nicomedia as his interim capital city for the next six years, until in 330 he declared the nearby Byzantium (which was renamed Constantinople) the new capital. Constantine died in a royal villa in the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337.”

      The Seat of Power was moved from Nicodemia! The “Day of Vengeance” (a major earthquake on 24 August 358 caused extensive devastation to Nicomedia and was followed by a fire which completed the catastrophe) happened 28 years after the Seat of Power was removed from Nicodemia. and 45 years after the Christian persecution ended and all the people responsible for the persecution are already dead and gone. By your theory, God missed his mark by destroying Nicodemia instead of Byzantium, which was the true Roman Seat of Power.

      But that’s not all. The story unfolds:
      “Nicomedia was rebuilt, but on a smaller scale. In the sixth century under Emperor Justinian I the city was extended with new public buildings. Situated on the roads leading to the capital, the city remained a major military center, playing an important role in the Byzantine campaigns against the Caliphate.
      At 451, the local bishopric was promoted to a Metropolitan see under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The metropolis of Nicomedia was ranked 7th in the Notitiae Episcopatuum among the metropolises of the Patriarchate. From the 840s on, Nicomedia was the capital of the thema of the Optimatoi. By that time, most of the old, seawards city had been abandoned and is described by the Persian geographer Ibn Khurdadhbih as lying in ruins. The settlement had obviously been restricted to the hilltop citadel. In the 1080s, the city served as the main military base for Alexios I Komnenos in his campaigns against the Seljuk Turks, and the First and Second Crusades both encamped there. The city was held by the Latin Empire between 1204 and ca. 1240, when it was recovered by John III Vatatzes. It remained in Byzantine control for a further century, but following the Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Bapheus in 1302, it was threatened by the rising Ottoman beylik. The city was twice blockaded by the Ottomans (in 1304 and 1330) before finally succumbing in 1337”

      And Nicomedia, now İzmit, has ever since been one of the most important cities in northwestern Asia Minor.

      THE Day of Vengeance? I don’t see it.

      1. Bob,

        You wrote,

        “Nicomedia was rebuilt, but on a smaller scale. In the sixth century under Emperor Justinian I the city was extended with new public buildings. Situated on the roads leading to the capital, the city remained a major military center, playing an important role in the Byzantine campaigns against the Caliphate.”

        There was an earthquake in Turkey on August 17, 1999 that rocked the western coast, and epicenter appeared to be near Izmit. As this archaeologist’s note suggests, it was a boon to his field of study because part of the effect was that the ancient City of Nicomedia was unearthed for the first time in 1641 years:

        “One such place is in Izmit, Kocaeli, not far from Istanbul. In 1999, the Marmaris earthquake devastated the area and killed 50,000 people. The earthquake also revealed the ancient city of Nicomedia, existing just below the modern city of Izmit.” (Digital Journal Photo Essay: Archaeology opportunity in Turkey, Jan 30, 2013))

        If Nicomedia was for 1641 years laying beneath a mountain that had fallen on it in 358 A.D., in what was was Nicomedia “rebuilt”? If Nicomedia was buried so deep that it took an earthquake to unearth it in 1999, in what way was Nicomedia “one of the most important cities in northwestern Asia Minor” since Izimit was built? Rather, Nicomedia was buried, and a town called Izmit was built nearby. But Nicomedia was not rebuilt.

        You continued,

        “By your theory, God missed his mark by destroying Nicodemia instead of Byzantium, which was the true Roman Seat of Power.”

        Did He? When the seat of power was removed, was the circus where the blood of the martyrs still cried out from the ground, removed with it?



        1. Tim–
          You said: “Nicomedia was buried, and a town called Izmit was built nearby. But Nicomedia was not rebuilt.”

          It’s fascinating that you are trying to rewrite history to match your theory. No, Nicodemia was rebuilt and basically right on top of the old ruins. And it was called Nicodemia until the area was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1326 and then the name of the city was changed to Izmit. And it is most common in the Middle East for archeaologists to find remains of ancient cities under the current ones. Seems there is a habit of building on top of old foundations and even whole buildings that have been buried over time.

          You also said: “Did He? When the seat of power was removed, was the circus where the blood of the martyrs still cried out from the ground, removed with it?”

          Well, at least the blood of the martyrs got a decent burial. Who knows? With a little more digging, the archaeologists may uncover the ruins of the old circus.
          That still doesn’t change the fact that the seat of power was moved away from disaster 28 years before the earthquake and fire. As far as the Roman Empire was concerned, what you say was “Fire cast down from Heaven” was just a flash in the pan. The course of history had already changed.

          1. The point is prophecy was fulfilled when God brought judgment on Nicomedia and fire from heaven, destroyed it for the persecution of the saints. Its no coincidence that great earthquake and fire destroyed the very power center that martyred the saints. It was a day of vengance, The saints were vindicated. The bible says it is the will of God that Christians suffer persecution for Christ sake. Its also interesting that Romanism has always been the persecutor.

          2. Thanks, Bob,

            You wrote, “No, Nicodemia was rebuilt and basically right on top of the old ruins.”

            If you read the wiki article on Nicomedia, it denies that:

            By that time, most of the old, seawards city had been abandoned and is described by the Persian geographer Ibn Khurdadhbih as lying in ruins. The settlement had obviously been restricted to the hilltop citadel.”

            So, no, Nicomedia was not “rebuilt and basically right on top of the old ruins.” Vast portions of the city remained abandoned and in ruins for centuries. The photograph at the top of the blog entry called “Do Not Weep For Nicomedia” is an actual photograph of the current ruins of Nicomedia, upon which there is no city.



    1. TIM–
      ” “You wrote, “No, Nicodemia was rebuilt and basically right on top of the old ruins.”
      If you read the wiki article on Nicomedia, it denies that”

      No. it doesn’t deny it. Here is what it says in its full context:
      “Nicomedia was rebuilt, but on a smaller scale. In the sixth century under Emperor Justinian I the city was extended with new public buildings. Situated on the roads leading to the capital, the city remained a major military center, playing an important role in the Byzantine campaigns against the Caliphate.
      At 451, the local bishopric was promoted to a Metropolitan see under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The metropolis of Nicomedia was ranked 7th in the Notitiae Episcopatuum among the metropolises of the Patriarchate. From the 840s on, Nicomedia was the capital of the thema of the Optimatoi. By that time, most of the old, seawards city had been abandoned and is described by the Persian geographer Ibn Khurdadhbih as lying in ruins. The settlement had obviously been restricted to the hilltop citadel.”
      Let’s look at the timeline shall we:
      *358AD–Nicomedia destroyed.
      *Sometime between 358 AD and 451 AD–Nicomedia rebuilt.
      *451 AD–Nicomedia promoted to a Metropolitan see under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
      *500’s AD– Emperor Justinian I extends Nicomedia with new public buildings. Situated on the roads leading to the capital, the city remained a major military center, playing an important role in the Byzantine campaigns against the Caliphate. That’s why the citadel was built.
      * 500’s AD to 840, roughly 300 years, most of the old, SEAWARD city had been abandoned. The settlement had obviously been restricted to the hilltop citadel. Makes sense if it was a military center.

      So, no, the article does not deny that Nicomedia was “rebuilt and basically right on top of the old ruins.” And I do not deny that portions of the city remained abandoned and in ruins for centuries. There was probably no reason to clean up those portions when they rebuilt.

      You also said: “The photograph at the top of the blog entry called “Do Not Weep For Nicomedia” is an actual photograph of the current ruins of Nicomedia, upon which there is no city.”

      Yeah, that’s what they do when they take pictures of old ruins–they don’t include scenery from the nearby MODERN city that would ruin the mood of the photograph. Examples: Rome, Athens, Cairo, Alexandria, La Brea Tar Pits, etc, etc.

  2. Tim, I am a little unclear. Are you saying just as the Tribe of Dan was a bad egg because of idolatry and left out, God in the final wrath will preserve all the tribes ( so to speak) of believing Christians and will omit the great Idolator of the Church age? This is fascinating. Can you just clarify for me a little. I was pre mil much of my life as a Christian. But as I become more Reformed I am changing my stance. I hope I’m not asking to much, but can you kind of put the picture together for me. Thanks Kevin.

    1. Hi, Kevin,

      My point in this entry is that there is a very explicit progression of Seals from the 1st Horseman (1st Seal, Revelation 6:1-2) all the way through the Seven angels being given Seven Trumpets (7th Seal, Revelation 8:1-2). Between the Sixth and Seventh, the angels are told “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (Revelation 7:3), which is a reference to the trumpets that are about to blow. In other words, the people of God are to be sealed by way of preservation before the coming wrath (as was done in Ezekiel 9-10). As the Sixth Seal can be identified in the destruction of Nicomedia, and Seventh Seal can be identified in the fire that consumed it, we have the Scriptural support to determine precisely when the church was marked for preservation (Revelation 7).

      Remember our earlier conversation about how before 350 A.D., the church was accused of worshiping a “dead God,” but after 350 A.D., it was accused of worshiping “many wretched men” and “martyrs”? Here is the quote from The Church in The Catacombs, by Charles Maitland, p. 376:

      “Far be it from any one to repeat lightly or causelessly the calumnies cast upon Christ’s martyrs by the ungodly of past ages: but neither useless nor trifling is the collection of these slanders when employed to clear the ancient Church from the charge of idolatry. The Pagan accusations, when arranged in chronological order, divide themselves into two classes, according as they were advanced before or after the year 350. Christians were accused of worshipping, in the year

      150. Christ. (Celsus.)
      170. The great Man crucified in Palestine. (Lucian.)
      290. A Man born and crucified. (Apud Arno bium.)
      A dead God. (Oracle of Apollo.)
      300. Jesus. (Porphyry.)
      360. Many wretched men. (Julian.)
      370. Tombs. (Libanius.)
      380. Slaves, martyrs, and deacons. (Eunapius.)
      420. Martyrs. (Maximus Madaurensis.)”

      The question is, “What happened at the end of the 4th century?” What “happened” was the rise of Roman Catholicism, a system absolutely rife with idolatry. Maitland places the division at 350 A.D. I believe it can be established with even more precision: 358 A.D.

      It is not insignificant, then, that when the false church (Roman Catholicism) rose and would have led the whole world into idolatry, the Lord marked His people and preserved them from it. When the angels “sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads,” they list 12 Tribes, but not Dan—the tribe known for the particular sin of idolatry, and which sin Roman Catholicism was about to foist upon an unsuspecting world.

      I will also point out here that the descendants of Dan were particularly “skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue [literally, violet or purple], and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving” (2 Chronicles 2:14), as is another antagonist with whom we are quite familiar:

      “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble” (Revelation 18:11-12).

      Since Dan is described as a “serpent in the way,” and his tribe fell immediately into idolatry and his descendants were particularly skilled at making graven images and working in the same trade as “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth” (Revelation 17:5), the exclusion of Dan from preservation in the list of tribes in Revelation 7 on the August morning in 358 A.D. just screams “Roman Catholicism!” The Church of Jesus Christ must always be separate from her. Prior to 358 A.D., you see a remarkable Church, obedient to the commandments of God, and unwilling to bow before the idols of Caesar. After 358 A.D., you begin to see a new religion whose trade is in idols, and that religion is Roman Catholicism.

      I hope that helps.



      1. Tim, thanks for the reply. It makes so much sense. You really do a great job and my whole understanding has changed and is clear about the falling away and the preserving of the true church. This site has emboldened me, because now I am more sure than ever that Roman catholicism is antichrist and is the fulfillment of the verse in Isaiah that says woe to those who make evil good and good evil etc. As I have often said look at Roman doctrine and believe the opposite and you will have biblical truth. For Rome is a front for the kingdom of Satan and their people are under a veil thinking it is the true church. But for those Catholic lurkers who will take an honest look here, they will see this giant error. Kenneth has his own Catholic site and I asked him 3 times what does “not that of yourselves” and “not of works” mean to you. He hasn’t answered. These verses constrain the Roman catholic who can’t resist the urge to smuggle their character into God’s work of grace. Tim, there is no way around for by grace you have been saved thru faith, it is not that of yourselves, it is a free gift, not a result of works. If God tells you it can’t have ANYTHING to do with you, how can they continue to make their works and efforts meritorious. Beyond amazement.

        1. Thanks, Kevin,

          I will add here (and I might have to add this to the article itself, and I should not have omitted it) that when the Seventh Seal is broken, “there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (Revelation 8:1).

          The Scripture says that we ought to be silent when God stirs forth from His temple:

          “But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” (Habukkuk 2:20)

          “Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.” (Zechariah 2:13)

          The reason this matters is that in Ezekiel 10, just before the angel is given coals to heap upon the city, “the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’S glory.” (Ezekiel 10:4).

          Only after this did the angel take coals from the altar to throw upon the earth.

          Therefore, because the Seventh Seal has silence in heaven for half an hour and then the coals being heaped upon the earth in answer to the prayers of the saints, we can understand the Seventh Seal in light of Ezekiel 10. The reason there is silence in heaven for half an hour is that “the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’S glory.” The succession of events is quite rapid here. At the Sixth Seal, the sun turns to sackcloth, there is a huge earthquake, and the people are buried under the mountains and rubble (Revelation 6:12-17). The 144,000 are marked (Revelation 7). At the Seventh Seal, there is silence in heaven for half an hour as the house is filled with the brightness of God’s glory, the angels are given seven trumpets, and coals are collected from the altar and hurled to earth, and Nicomedia is consumed in flames that burn day and night. Very rapid succession, and owing to the rapid succession of these events, and the light shed on the Sixth Seal by Isaiah 34, and the Seventh Seal by Ezekiel 9-10, we can pinpoint the marking of the 144,000 (which is the Church) to the very day—August 23, 358.

          It is quite liberating, actually, knowing with certainty that the Church of Jesus Christ does not have to own, rationalize or explain the nonsense that soon followed. It also helps us understand Augustine a little better. He didn’t know what hit him, but still managed to land on his feet. His explanation of the maternity of Mary and the paternity of God is priceless:

          “This child, born of the Father, created all ages; now, born of a mother, He has commended this day. That first nativity could not possibly have had a mother, nor did the second one call for any man as a father. In a word, Christ was born of both a father and a mother, and He was born without a father and without a mother; for as God He was born of the Father and as Man He was born of a mother; as God He was born without a mother and as Man He was born without a father.” (Augustine, Sermon 184.3)

          He obviously didn’t buy into Mary as “Mother of God.” In fact he denied it explicitly. Same with “adoring God’s footstool,” as I mentioned in In Vain Do They Worship Me. I don’t deny that Augustine struggled with various doctrines, was often too soft in his criticism, and given to swings between diverse opinions. But it is hard to make the case that he bought into Eucharistic adoration, transubstantiation and Mary as “Mother of God,” in light of his explicit denials of the same.

          Thanks again,


          1. Tim, Ya and one wonders if he could be picked up and sat down in a Reformed council, he would have not missed a beat. The Latin mistranslation of justificare and his knowing very little greek dikaiousinae was prohibitive. But his focus on grace was and faith was heading in the right direction. Here is a quote from Augustine ” How was Abraham justified, what does the Apostle say about how Abraham was justified, Abraham was justified by faith. Good works follow justification. Paul and James don’t contradict each other” Augustine may have been the original Reformer in many ways. Erasmus admitted to Luther that Jerome mistranslated the word make just instead of declare just.

      2. Tim,

        “After 358 A.D., you begin to see a new religion whose trade is in idols, and that religion is Roman Catholicism.”

        The Romish religion started in 358? I thought you gave an earlier date elsewhere.

        1. Thanks, Jim. You wrote,

          “After 358 A.D., you begin to see a new religion whose trade is in idols, and that religion is Roman Catholicism.”

          The Romish religion started in 358? I thought you gave an earlier date elsewhere.

          Just let me know what earlier date you thought I gave, and I’ll be happy to interact with you. I’ve consistently said Roman Catholicism as a religion originated in the latter half of the 4th century.



          1. So, if we demonstrate that certain doctrines ( Papacy for instance ) existed before that date, you theory comes crumbling down?

          2. I will look forward to your evidence. Nobody denies, by the way, that “the mystery of iniquity doth already work” in the first century (2 Thessalonians 2:7). The latter part of the 4th Century was the tipping point, however.



  3. Tim,

    Do you agree with this quote from Pastor Price?

    “I would add that when the Holy Spirit in the Book of Revelation identifies “the earth” as being the object of the various judgments (seals, trumpets, and vials), most Historicists understand “the earth” in view to be the Roman earth (i.e. the Roman Empire), for these judgments fall upon the two great enemies of Christ and His faithful witnesses: the professing Christian (though antichristian) Roman Empire and the Papal Church of Rome. Thus, the rise of the second Beast with the two horns like a lamb (i.e. the Papal Church of Rome) to power was made possible by way of the stability, promotion, and protection of the Roman Empire and its Emperors.”

    1. Walt,

      I agree that “‘the earth’ in view to be the Roman earth (i.e. the Roman Empire), for these judgments fall upon the two great enemies of Christ and His faithful witnesses: the professing Christian (though antichristian) Roman Empire and the Papal Church of Rome.” I agree with this largely because the Beast of Revelation 13 is explained to us in terms consistent with Daniel 7, and therefore “the world” and “the earth” are to be construed in a similar fashion, as in Daniel’s explanation to Nebuchadnezzar, “wheresoever the children of men dwell, … [God] hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth” (Daniel 2:38-39), etc… Here, “over all the earth” is a reference to the boundaries of the Greek empire—not the globe and all its territories. We must see Revelation in that light. And the same for all the beasts. “All the earth” means the extent of each respective empire’s domain.

      As for the remainder, “…Thus the rise of the second beast … was made possible by way of the stability, promotion, and protection of the Roman Empire and its Emperors,” I don’t subscribe to this. As you know, I identify the 2nd Beast as the Apparitions of Mary. Also, because I do not identify the mortal head wound as Pastor Price does, I do not see a great deal of time passing between apostolic era and the rise of Antichrist, and in fact I identify Antichrist with the Beast of Revelation 13.

      Does that answer your question?



  4. Eric W, I can’t get to you on the other site, but that Calvin guy is massaging you man. He said “he’s trying to get you to see that grace is synergistic.” I love how RC’s say things. If he can get you to see that, you would have “wings you never had before.” I guess knowing you have to cooperate perfectly with grace to get in will just “free you up to fly” No kidding. John 1:16 ” For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” doesn’t sound very synergistic. Love your bro Kevin

  5. Tim, can you link any of this into your commentary, as it is a theory that ties eschatology into the Psalms?

    Psalm 1-24– takes you through the times of the ministry of Christ through to his resurrection.

    Psalm 25- 44 –takes you through the period of the early church –through the first 5 seals of Revelation– Psalm 44 particularly shows you the working out of the 5th seal.

    Psalm 45-48– shows the working of the 6th seal and takes us through the reformation and establishment of the church–the city of God–as it is established in the Roman Empire through the time of Constantine up to Theodosius

    Psalm 50 –54 describes the time when the faithful Church of Rome began to be overrun by the unfaithful Church of Rome which leads up to the apostacy described in Psalm 54–this also covers the period of the first 4 trumpets.

    Psalm 55-64 is descriptive of the flight of the witnesses into the wilderness as Antichrist pursues them and as Islam is sent via the Saracens and Turks to plague Antichrist (5th and 6th trumpets).

    Psalm 65-68 is descriptive of the first and second reformation period– the faithful witnesses are given what is termed “a time of refreshing in the wildernes”. Psalm 68 is particularly interesting as it is descriptive of the “war in heaven” described in Revelation 12.

    1. Walt,

      Very interesting indeed. You posted something like this earlier, and I have always meant to come back to it. I will take a look.


    2. Walt, I’ve been thinking about this. There does appear to be an alignment and a flow that is consistent with the flow of the seals, and certainly Psalms 55-64 (for example) are an aid to understanding Revelation 12 (regarding the two wings being given, i.e., “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, … and remain in the wilderness” (Psalms 55:6-7).) I will have to think more about this—I have seen the same method used to suggest that each Psalm represents a year for Israel in the 20th century (i.e., Ps 48 signifies 1948, ps 73 signifies 1973, etc…). The weakness with such a proposed signification is that for it to work, one must already know what is signified—that is, the order of the psalms, and the progression of them, is not in itself revelatory. And if there is a fit, it is not necessarily determinative. For example, I place the seals and trumpets much earlier than some—and yet they (appear to) align with the psalms as well.

      Interesting for conversation, at any rate. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on the trumpets when I write on them on the week after next. This Sunday I’m posting on the sudden and rapid emergence of characteristically Roman practices shortly after 358 A.D.

      Thanks, as always, for your participation here.


  6. Tim, I’m sure you noticed this before. After Revelations 13 and the description of the image of the beast and the mark. John says this in Revelations 14: 6-7″ And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a old voice, ” Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, worship Him who made the heaven and earth and the sea and the springs of waters. We are told to worship God and give Him glory, not the Roman Eucharist.

  7. Tim,

    Who was the first Pope?

    What do you know about this guy here who appears to be the Roman Catholic expert on everything every written by the early Church fathers?

    He argues that every main Roman Catholic mass tradition, including transubstantiation, took place before during the first century. I was not able to write down his quotes, but he rattled off a list of things that the early Church fathers have absolutely confirmed all major doctrines of Rome in the first century. Have you heard of this view?

    1. Hi, Walt,

      Good questions. On the first question, here is a pretty interesting study from Maitland’s Church in the Catacombs:

      Who was the first bishop of Rome? “Linus,” answers the ancient church; “St. Peter,” the modern Romanist. From the entire historical evidence belonging to the period between A.D. 60, and 380, the reader will be able to judge how rapidly the primitive tradition on this subject was corrupted. To begin with the earliest:

      A.D. 66. St. Peter dates an epistle from Babylon, unanimously understood to be Rome by the ancient Church.
      A.D. 90. Clement, third bishop of Rome, only states that the Apostle suffered martyrdom.
      A.D. 110. Papias. The usual quotation from this author is founded on a mistake.
      A.D. 180. Hegisippus, de excidio Judaico. A notorious forgery, allowed to be such by Bellarmine.
      A.D. 180. Irenaeus: nothing can be more conclusive than the testimony of this writer, whose intercourse with Polycarp, a disciple of St. John, gave him the best possible means of obtaining information. He says of Rome, “The blessed Apostles’ Peter and Paul having there founded a church, delivered the administration of its bishoprick to Linus,’ the same that is mentioned in Paul’s epistle to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; after him, in the third place from the Apostles, did Clement, who had seen and known them, obtain the episcopate. ” (Adv. Haereses, lib. v.)
      A.D. 190. Tertullian, speaking of Rome: “Where Peter was conformed to his Lord in suffering.” (De Praescrip.’Haeret. c. xxxvi.)
      A.D. 200. (about). The Apostolic Constitutions, a work notoriously spurious, though very ancient, tell us that St. Peter vanquished Simon Magus in Rome.
      A.D. 256. Firmilian, speaking of the bishop of Rome, expresses himself as “justly indignant at the manifest folly of Stephen, who, while he piques himself on the site of his see, and eagerly claims the succession of Peter, does introduce &c.” (Cyp. Epistle 75) These African bishops were the first to attribute to St. Peter alone the foundation of the Roman see.
      A.D. 290. Lactantius. “Peter and Paul preached in Rome–Nero put them to death.” (Lib. iv. o. 21.)
      A.D. 320. Eusebius. This accurate historian thrice assigns to Linus the post of honour as first bishop of Rome.
      “After the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, Linus first received the bishopric of the Roman church.” (H. E. iii. 2.)
      “At that time Clement still presided over the church of Rome, being reckoned the third in succession from the Apostles among the bishops of that city. For the first was Linus, the second Anencletus.” (C. 19.)
      “The church being new founded and settled, the blessed Apostles delivered the bishopric to Linus.” (Lib. v. c. 6.)
      A.D. 367. Damasus. His extant works are reckoned apocryphal by Bellarmine.
      A.D. 370. Optatus, an African bishop, for the first time styles St. Peter “bishop of Rome.” (Ad versus Parmenianum, lib. ii.)
      A.D. 374. Ambrose relates the crucifixion of St. Peter in Rome, but does not mention the position on the cross. (Oratio ad Auxentium.)
      A.D. 380. Epiphanius. “There were in Rome first of all Peter and Paul, apostles as well as bishops: then Linus, next Cletus.” (Haeresi 27.)
      A.D. 390. Chrysostom and Prudentius repeat the history of St. Peter’s crucifixion in Rome, together with the incident of his being inverted upon the cross.

      From this time we hear no more of Linus as first bishop of Rome; but the statement of Optatus, notwithstanding its injustice to the memory of St. Paul, continues to be repeated with as much confidence as if it had been handed down from the earliest times.

      The result of our examination may be thus summed up. The whole mass of ancient testimony, with a single exception, declares that the Apostles ordained Linus first bishop of Rome. The exception is an African fable, founded upon an equivocal expression of Cyprian, and worked into form by two other Africans: according to this fable St. Peter was first bishop of Rome. The Africans may be excused a mistake on the subject of the Roman see: enough for our purpose to know that the primitive church of Rome never pretended to claim St. Peter as its bishop.” (pp. 231-236)

      On the second question, I am familiar with his arguments, but I am not familiar with him. Thanks for the link, though.


  8. Walt, the word transubstantiation didn’t exist until about 1200. From my study, there is no way it can be located in the early church. Pope Gelasius of Rome” The sacrament of the body and blood of Christ which we receive is a divine thing, because by it we are made partakers of His divine nature,. Yet the substance or nature of the bread and wine does not cease. And assuredly the image and the similitude of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in the performance of the mysteries”

    1. Kevin,

      Yes, like so many other Roman doctrines, they are not stated explicitly until after 358 A.D. Before that, it is all conjecture. It’s quite noticeable in their apologetics:

      “Apply this to the Catholic religion : if there are early traces of identity of belief, they may be invisible, except to the eye of a Catholic, but perfectly clear to him. For an immense number of minute expressions, observations, and practices prove to him, that the genius of his faith is what it always was. It subsisted antecedently to the polemical and dogmatical works in which it is stated, and independently of them.” (Jesus, the Son of Mary, by the Rev. John Brande Morris, M .A., 1851, p. i. oh. i. pp. 25-33.)

      You can see this approach in Joan Carroll Cruz’s attempt to show the ancient practice of Eucharistic adoration:

      “As proof of this early veneration we have only to study the frescoes in the catacombs which were constructed beneath the city of Rome between the 1st and 3rd centuries. Here we find numerous symbols representing the Holy Eucharist. The most persistent of these are baskets of bread in conjunction with fish, recalling Jesus’ miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fish, an event which led up to His feeding of souls with His own flesh and blood. In the catacomb of Callistus is a painting of a large fish beside a woven basket, and on top of the basket are pictured round loaves of bread; the front part of the basket has a square opening in which is seen a glass containing red wine. In the catacombs of St. Priscilla, archeologists have found sculptured loaves (about the size of a fist) indented on the top with a cross, the mark of salvation.” (Eucharistic Miracles and Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of the Saints by Joan Carroll Cruz:p. 274)

      You can see that every attempt to show evidence before the latter half of the first century always involves a stretch. Only after 358 A.D. do you begin to see explicit statements of Roman Catholic doctrine. Before that date, the evidence is ” invisible, except to the eye of a Catholic.” There is a reason for this, of course.



  9. Tim, thanks for your response, you have more than convinced me where the start of the falling away was. They fell away and claimed the name of true church mantle leading souls directly to hell with them is their system of the works of sacramental efficacy in the place of the atonement. What should be crystal clear to believers is the verse in Isaiah which say woe to them who make good to be evil and evil to be good etc. We have to be fully aware , as many of the Fathers were, that the apostasy will look like the most truthful thing. I found your site Tim in the middle of a commitment to understand all the errors of RCism and my only work is to make people aware of the utter denial of the gospel and Christian doctrine Romanism is. Just the idea that grace is rationed out thru a sacrament according to an earned merit is repulsive. John 1:16 says ” For of His fulness we have received grace upon grace” In Rome grace is a reward and not a gift. And any believer in that system that does not believe that is obligated to leave that communion immediately. The Lord’s supper is gift go God’s grace, not a sacrifice and a payment on the part of a participant. Again any true believer would be obligated to leave that communion now. We can only hope Tim that the Catholic friends who support the doctrines of the Roman religion are by that very fact denying the gospel of Christ. Let us pray.

  10. Tim, I had just one question in my mind when I finished Graven Bread. Could the true church of Jesus Christ have committed the crimes, killings and villainies that the Roman Catholic church committed for the refusal to bow and worship the Eucharist. and the answer is no way, not even a chance. The words of Luther ring thru History, ” for it is in the killing of souls that their true Papal government lies.” And they kiss his feet and his ring to this day. Kissing the hand of the devil himself.

  11. Finally…we are starting to see a little main stream see the light.

    WARNING: Studying the History of the Covenanters will Radically Change Your View of the Christian Walk
    OR…learning more about the Covenanters will help you to appreciate the time in church history you currently live in to better glorify Christ.

    This work concerns the covenant-keeping history of the able men and women of Scotland who gave their lives to the service, “FOR CHRIST’S CROWN AND COVENANT.” Suffering at the hands of tyrants and kings who were pawns of the Devil, the Covenanters demonstrate a tearful but God-glorifying journey in the Scottish Presbyterian movement of the 17th century. The Covenanters of old were concerned with keeping their lives and doctrine pure in accordance with the God’s revealed will in the Scriptures, and to worship Christ freely being bound together by the National Covenant of Scotland.

    They would have rather died than deny Jesus Christ; as the Apostle says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us.” And as the author of this work states (which was the sentiment of the Scottish Covenanters and many of the members of the Westminster Assembly), “Covenant-breaking is, possibly, the most dangerous sin.”

    This new version brings some of the language up to date, and has been carefully transcribed from the original work (it is not a scan or facsimile). It also includes more than 50 illustrations, many of which were taken and enhanced from the original work published at the turn of the century.

  12. Walt, I finished those articles you sent me and I can tell you are exactly right it helps us to appreciate the work that lies ahead for believers in the proclamation of the truth into this world.

  13. Walt, And the one thing we can take comfort in is ” when we are faithless, He remains faithful. Understanding the Grace and mercy of God should make every believer want to obey His Law and further his kingdom.

    1. Kevin,

      I had not read it until now, but it is quite good, and I completely agree.

      Thanks for bringing it to my attention.


  14. The matter is not of so small importance, as some suppose. The question is, whether God or man ought to be obeyed in matters of religion? In mouth, all do confess that only God is worthy of sovereignty. But after many — by the instigation of the devil, and by the presumptuous arrogance of carnal wisdom and worldly policy — have defaced God’s holy ordinance, men fear not to follow what laws and common consent (mother of all mischief) have established and commanded. But thus continually I can do nothing but hold, and affirm all things polluted, yea, execrable and accursed, which God by his Word has not sanctified in his religion. God grant you his Holy Spirit rightly to judge.

    – John Knox, Works VI:14 cited in John Knox, True and False Worship (Free Online Book)

  15. “The Martyrs’ Testimony, Roman Catholic Tradition and the Importance of History (1997)

    What is historical testimony? How does the Reformed view of historical testimony differ from the Roman Catholic view of tradition? Does the Reformed view of historical testimony militate against Sola Scriptura? What does Psalm 78 say about historical testimony? How did the Reformers view this Psalm? How does history impact our terms of communion, our sanctification (personal and corporate), etc.? These and many other important questions are answered in this fascinating and faithful sermon — expounding the views of the Reformed faith against the errors of the Romanists, Anabaptists, Independents and modern “evangelicals” on this topic. “Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following” (Ps. 48:12-13).”

    1. Walt,

      Would you please get lost. Kevin is sucking up to Tim and you keep vying for attention.
      I think these two guys need to be left alone so Kevin can bask in Tim’s radiance. Tim also enjoys time alone with his lapdog.

      Tim, stop it! It is so embarrassing to see Kevin fawning over every dumb thing you say. You are worse than him for encouraging his worship ( Latria , not just hyperdulia ).

      Kevin, has Tim ever said anything that you didn’t fall in love with? If he were to burp, would you go into ecstasy?
      You have no shame. Bootlickers are always backstabbers. I am waiting for the honeymoon to end and for you to turn on Tim.

      1. Jim wrote:
        It is so embarrassing to see Kevin fawning over every dumb thing you say.

        Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. – Gal. 6:6

  16. Walt, Is it your contention that we get governments again submitting to our dear Lord one person at at time thru the great commission? Or do you see another way in which we have Christian men, or God fearing men back in charge of civil authorities? Recent history would tell us that governments ( who God put in place to be His arm) are run by corrupted and sinful man. Thanks

  17. Walt, And how do you personally balance that with the command to submit to government. Would that be for you only only those that support christian Religion, or would that be like our dear Lord submitting to the corrupt government also of His time? I think Price is excellent incidentally. And the Scottish reformers were an incredible breed.

  18. Kevin,

    I would read this book to answer your questions. It is a carefully written book that has effected many people I know. Even one Jewish guy here in my State read it, and it totally changed his life as he was very much involved in politics. Hopefully it is helpful.

    If you don’t like that book, then read the standard here:

  19. This is outstanding Tim. Thanks for writing. I have been wanting to learn more about the Book of Revelation but really don’t know how to make sense of it. I just want to know what view of eschatology you are writing from. I started out in Dispensationalism then moved to the Amillennialism view and now I am leaning strongly toward the historic or classical Premillennialism view after I read the article titled Antichrist on the Trinity Foundation. I agree with every thing you said because I am convinced that the Papacy is the Antichrist. Could you offer some guidance? Thank you again for writing.

    1. Thanks, Tim,

      I am writing from the Historicist position, but with a small modification. I agree with John Robbins’ article at The Trinity Foundation, The Antichrist, in which he shows that the Beast in Revelation 13 is the Papacy. However, I believe the Beast emerged much sooner than people realized—during the latter half of the 4th Century. To give you an idea of how this could be missed, you can see my article, A See of One. The Notitia Dignitatum was an early 5th Century document explaining the division of the empire into 13 Diocese at the end of the 4th Century, right at the time the Roman Catholicism was emerging, as I described in The Rise of Roman Catholicism. Of those 13, Roman Catholicism emerged in Alexandria, Antioch and Rome—the capital cities of thee of the Dioceses, claiming under the rubric of Petrine Primacy that those three constituted a See of One. As I wrote in that article, the church has always been anticipating a 10-way division of the empire, followed by the rise of Antichrist, who removes 3 of the 10. But I believe Daniel was speaking of 13 horns, three of which were removed by Antichrist so he could come up among the remaining 10, having subdued three of them. This is consistent not only with Daniel 7, but also with Revelation 12, 13 and 17, in which the final configuration of the divided Roman empire is a 10-way division. Not only was the church not expecting a 13-way division, but also the Notitia wasn’t even discovered and understood until late in the 16th Century, which means that a lot of Reformation history and commentary was “under the bridge” by the time the 13-way division was even understood. There is even evidence that by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D., the 13-way division of the empire ~380 A.D. was lost to history, not to be seen again until the late 1500s.

      Along those same lines, Diocletian’s Edict on Maximum Prices was not even discovered until after the first edition of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in 1776. If we are to stick only with what the Reformers wrote on eschatology, we would have to do so without knowledge of the Diocesan division of the Roman empire over the course of the 4th century, and without knowledge of Diocletian’s Edict on Maximum Prices. The same can be said of the Smyrnæan Inscription, which has tremendous bearing on our understanding of Daniel 11, yet was not discovered until the late 1800s. More on that in a later post.

      In any case, my position should be called Post-Nicene Historicist—to distinguish it from Preterism which has Revelation being fulfilled before 70 A.D., and from Classical Historicist which has the rise of Antichrist after 476 A.D.. I believe we should have been looking between 70 and 476 A.D., but that is easy to say from my position. A lot of data was not even available until the last couple centuries. Even the Donation of Constantine was still considered authentic at beginning of the Reformation.

      I hope that helps. Thanks for writing,


      1. Where does the contraception stuff come in Tim?
        You know, I used to know a lot of “more Catholic than the Pope” wackos. They were convinced that Paul Vi was an anti-pope in league with the Devil for “protestantizing” the Mass. They saw theend of the world, the anti-Christ, one world government, the E. U. etc. etc. plots and conspiracies everywhere.
        I disagreed with them. I used to tell them that if Paul VI was the demon they thought he was, he would have left the Mass in Latin, facing east, “for many:”rather than “for all”, and he would have endorsed contraception. The fact he stood up against the pill, in the face of his own advisers and all the pundits, told me he was Peter, the Vicar of Christ.

  20. Kevin,
    Get a blast of this stuff somebody posted (not me ) on jason’s.

    “Luther: the BASEST of WRETCHES . . . is a MOST DISGRACEFUL SIN. It is far MORE ATROCIOUS than INCEST and ADULTERY. Surely at such a time the order of NATURE ESTABLISHED BY GOD IN PROCREATION should be followed. Accordingly, it was a MOST DISGRACEFUL CRIME. . . . Consequently, he DESERVED to be KILLED by God. He committed an EVIL DEED. Therefore, God PUNISHED HIM.”
    Calvin: Deliberately to WITHDRAW FROM COITUS in order that SEMEN MAY FALL ON THE GROUND is doubly monstrous. For this is to EXTINGUISH THE HOPE of the race and TO KILL before he is born the hoped-for offspring.”

  21. Kevin,
    I hope you are lurking on Jason’s. Robert has finally gotten the courage to come out and say we he thinks on Gn, 38:10.

    I think you should be reading his shameful defense ( “The Church is wrong!” ). Mikel is going to eat him alive.

  22. Jim, I think Robert is right on. And you can tell him I said so. NFP is no different than non abortaficient methods. It is a decision in one’s heart to avoid having children. This is not sin. God said the only time to cease from relations is for a period of prayer. You guys make sex in marriage dirty. Incidentally you never answered my question about your wicked leaders prohibiting marriage for Bishops and sex in their marriages previously as being abortion. How could those Bishops be fruitful and multiply. And think of all the Children that could have been born if your Priests were on a woman instead of a man.

  23. Layne, Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks. If you let Him in He will save you by faith alone in Him alone. You can’t be saved by placing your obedience and trust in a church, but only faith alone in the Word. Thats why the Word is infallible for Protestants because only faith in the WORD can bring a man justification. Robert and all of us Protestants won’t be knocking at the door of the Roman church because we can’t find salvation there, only by opening our door to the Word.

  24. Tim, The is a site called that has a recent message by the Pope saying that a personal relationship with Jesus is detrimental and that one must come thru the Roman church. Geese in their hoods. They are sucking people into the surrogate false Christ. If Rome can get them to put their unending allegiance and submission to their church, their Pope, their Mary, their Death wafer, they will lose their soul. This is the abomination of Roman Catholicism. It puts itself in the place of the head with a system of works thru secondary causes. Jesus said ” I am the way, the truth, and the life, NO MAN COMES TO THE FATHER BUT THRU ME. Rome thinks they are ME. They are prostrate before the Antichrist, the great idol. Revelation 18:4 ” Come out of her my people”

  25. Hey Kevin,
    I knew you wouldn’t be able to deal with Gen 38:10.

    That’s why you slipped me the “Falloni Uppercut” to the groin huh?
    And that is why you can’t play with us big boys over on jason’s blog. When you get ruffled, you get snotty like a little pouting girl. Ha!
    It’s also why you can’t run amok on Kenneth’s.

  26. Jim, you going to answer my question. When Uncle Jerome prohibited the marriage of Bishops and discouraged sex between Bishops and their wives, was this a form of contraception like barrier today. Both are with the intention of not having children. Don’t come back and tell me how smart Kenneth is or what stratosphere Jason or Jonathan’s intellect are, just answer the question. Those guys are legends in their own mind! I’ll let Robert handle the verse in Genesis 38. Obviously he thinks you are taking out of context. And how can an infallible magisterium ever error. I’m mean the amount of exegesis that went into the assumption of Mary and Roman anti justification is stunning. I think Eric W was on to something with the RC fertility factory.

  27. Kevin,
    The uppercut didn’t hurt because I have been expecting it.
    Check out Eric’s stupid attempt to save Robert by saying a wet dream is just like masturbating or using a condom.

    Eric and Robert can’t throw uppercuts as Nick/Mateo/Jonathan have much more integrity than Tim and won’t allow sleaze on the blog. Instead Eric and Robert are trying to change the subject with every possible smokescreen imaginable.

    I’m loving the fireworks!
    ( And I am lovin’ that I got you and your uppercuts banned. )

  28. Jim, I’ll take your refusal to answer the question as hiding under a rock, the apostate rock. I once was told by an RC friend you guys are the ones who broke off from us. And I said do you know why we broke off? You were selling forgiveness, the very thing Christ gave his life for that we may have freely by faith. I never heard from her after that. There is no way “the Church that Christ built” would ever sell forgiveness to put up gold altars and statues at the expense of the poor. Then they took the selling into Purgatory when they invented that. Here yee, here yee, for the the small price of $37.95 you can purchase today some of the merits of Christ and the celibate saints for 27.50. Step right up and burn off a little temporal punishment for a small fee. We have the lay away salvation plan. For the right amount you can buy enough of Christ’s merits to get you out of 12000 years of Purg. Heresy!

  29. Jim, Eric is right, a wet dream isn’t any different than the M word. NFP leads to the same thing, the spilling ——–d. This is a classic example of why we need the imputed righteousness of Christ. Our hand causes us to stumble and so does our dreams. We should always avoid sin, but we are sinful in our NATURE. Get it. Thats why we were without hope. Thats why He paid the price, because the are NONE RIGHTEOUS, NONE who seeks for God, NONE who understand. Jim, incidentally I got a good hunch on who Mikel is? Shhhhhh!

  30. Tim. I saw this quote today in a Horton article from a John Calvin tract called ” The Necessity of Reforming the church” and I hope I can share it with your readers. Calvin ” It’s true Jesus is called Redeemer, but this is understood in a manner which implies that men also, by their own free will, redeem themselves from the bondage of sin and death. True, he is called Righteousness and salvation, but in a way that men can procure salvation fro themselves, by the merit of their works. True, Christ is said to have reconciled us to the Father, but with this reservation, that men, by their own satisfactions, buy off the punishments which they owe to the justice of God. When supplementary aid is sought, no more honor is paid to Christ than to the saints such as Cyprian and Cyricius. For, in making up the treasury, the merits of Christ and of the martyr’s are thrown together in the same lump.” Horton said that Paul did not consider his sins as dung, but his righteousness. And sought to be found in another’s rigthteouness by faith. 1 Peter 1:3-4 says its an inheritance not a wage, it rooted in God’s mercy, not our works, and its in heaven waiting for us and can never fade away. My prayer this day is for all our RC friends is to stop trusting your own accumulated righteousness and to trust in the perfect righteousness of Christ alone that is in heaven waiting for us. God bless.

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