Updated: Mar 4, 2019
Over the course of the last 2,000 years, the "church" built around the name of the Son of the Most High ELOHIYM has endured many evolutionary and revolutionary periods of time. Many are already aware of the promises that our Messiah made regarding the outcome for those that would truly follow the way He laid out for us - that we would be hated, persecuted, mocked, ridiculed and even killed. Just as He was.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”
- John 15:18-20
It was no surprise then, that those apostles and disciples that closely followed the way prescribed for them by the Messiah himself, did in fact endure trials of all kinds. Torture, stoning, beheading and even crucifixion - all on account of following “the way.” Many are also already aware of the mass murder of the early followers of Messiah that occurred in the period just after His ascension; namely, persecution by the Romans - in which followers of Messiah were fed to the beasts, beheaded, burned at the stake and even worse.
According to many historians, there were at least 10 great persecutions that took place against the followers of Messiah, to include the famous extermination attempts made by the Roman Emperor Nero in 64 and 65 A.D., the attacks by the Emperor Domitian, the murder of Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch, in 107 A.D. during the reign of Trajan, the major persecution under the hand of Marcus Aurelius in 177 A.D. and many others. In fact, the mass murder of those who followed the true way of the Messiah continued at least until 313 A.D., when the Emperor Constantine finally terminated persecutions with the Edict of Milan which granted the toleration of the early church.
But when looking at the early “church”- or the original followers of the way of Messiah, and seeing how intensely they were hated by the Romans, who even tried to kill the Messiah himself before He was born under the Roman appointed King Herod, we are left with a profound question that many have failed to truly answer. If the Romans hated Yahushua and His followers from the very beginning, and even spent nearly 300 years trying to exterminate them from the face of the earth, how could the first early “church fathers” be Roman themselves? If the Roman church is considered by many today, to be the earliest “Christian” church, why were they killing the followers of Messiah in the first place, and what changed?
Today, let us investigate, and attempt to truly reveal not only “why” these historic persecutions took place, but perhaps even more importantly, the true name of "who" was being persecuted in those days. You might just find that there’s a prophetic significance to knowing the true name of the first followers of the way as they were called when the ekklesia was founded, and how prophecy reveals what they will be called in the time of the end - the Natsarim.
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”
1 John 2:18
How did the early followers of the Messiah go from being outcast, accused of heresy and even killed for over 300 years, to being supposedly accepted by the Romans after the edict of Milan? Was there a dramatic shift in Roman theology during this time? Or was there a dramatic shift in what it meant to be considered a follower of the way according to “Christian” customs? Which do you think is more likely? Check out our video below to find out.
If you consider yourself one of the "Natsarim," a follower of Messiah and a guardian of the Torah, be sure to join us in live, interactive fellowship HERE. Also, don't forget to subscribe on the Christian Truthers YouTube channel for more studies - as well as our weekly LIVE Shabbat services on the Parable of the Vineyard YouTube Channel.
Justin, Christian Truthers Fellowship & Parable of the Vineyard