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When Did Christianity Start

When Did Christianity Begin

The 12 Apostles were Jewish men who walked and lived with Jesus Christ during his Earthly ministry. The Apostles testified they saw Jesus on numerous occasions after He rose from the dead. 40 days later, Jesus ascended to Heaven in their presence. These 12 Apostles had the task set before them of spreading the Gospel (Good News) to all peoples in all lands. The Good News is that Jesus was resurrected; and by becoming a Believer, our sins are forgiven, we can be transformed into His likeness, we can receive the greatest gift ever offered to humankind: Eternal Life after death.

But how could 12 Apostles with 120 other Believers accomplish this mission? None were learned men; they had no political power; no army—they were a collection of nobodies from a backwater. Yet within 150 years there were perhaps one million Believers from Britain to India. And today Jesus is the most well known and revered person in the history of this planet. How did this happen? It seems so . . . supernatural.

What was it about these men that was so convincing? They and their followers were cut off from their communities, harassed, beaten and murdered for believing in the resurrection of their Lord. Some wonder why we don't know more about the 12 Apostles. That is because the story is not about them. It is about the message they delivered to the world.





Saint Peter

Peter was the rock upon which Jesus said He would build His church. He was strong, confident, and courageous—and flawed like all men. Why Peter? Why not John, the beloved disciple who was probably closest to Jesus in Spirit? I will paraphrase Dorothy Sayers, "John was all gold, and gold is rare. The work could not wait while God found enough men like John. Peter was a common man; made of stone as are most men."

On the Day of Pentecost (50th day since the resurrection) Peter took the reins as the leader and spokesman for the Apostles. He preached that day and 3,000 persons were converted. Peter would go on to preach throughout Judea and Samaria for many years. He was a successful evangelist because he performed a number of miracles in Jesus' Name through the power of the Holy Spirit. He healed the sick and raised the dead.

Peter and the other Apostles were arrested in Jerusalem by the Jews, who were incensed that the Christians had begun including Gentiles (non-Jews) in the Apostolic Church. They each received 39 lashes, were imprisoned, but miraculously freed.

Peter went to Rome and because of his stature as one of the 12 Apostles was named the first bishop of the church in Rome. Emperor Nero crucified him upside down in the Hippodrome (circus stadium) in 64 A.D. His bones lie in the Vatican.



St John

John was one of four fishermen among the Apostles. His character was a reflection of his Master's. He was with Jesus at His Transfiguration and in the Garden of Gethsemane. John braved the hostile crowd to be at the foot of the Cross when his beloved Lord was crucified. Jesus entrusted to John the care of His Mother Mary.

John left Palestine about 55 AD after Mary, Mother of Jesus, died. He spread the Gospel throughout Syria and Asia Minor. When John laid his hands on people they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is not known when he wrote the Gospel of John, or his three Epistles. Speculation is between 38 and 67 AD. It is known that he lived in Ephesus for many years, where he discipled Ignatius and Polycarp, two of the well known Apostolic Fathers of the church. John was exiled to the Island of Patmos as an old man and it is there he wrote Revelation in 97 AD. He was the only Apostle known to have died of natural causes (estimated to be 100 years old) and his tomb is in Ephesus.



History About Christianity

Andrew was Peter's brother. Andrew traveled widely as a missionary, winning converts in what are now Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Greece and Turkey. He is the Patron Saint of all these countries except Turkey; and also of Scotland. It is likely as not that he also traveled through parts of Bulgaria, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and maybe even Poland. Andrew founded the church in Byzantium (Constantinople or Istanbul) in 38 AD. He was crucified on an X shaped cross in Patras, Greece around 75 AD. Relics of his bones are in many countries including Scotland. The X on the British Flag, the Union Jack, is in honor of St. Andrew.




James was John's brother and the first Apostle to be martyred, in 44 AD. James was one of the first followers of Jesus and one of three present at the transfiguration. He was a leader in the earliest church in Jerusalem.

Herod Agrippa, King of the Jews, had James killed by the sword in the midst of a wave of persecution of Christians he had unleashed to please the Jews. James converted his prison guard, who volunteered to be beheaded next to James—and so he was.

James is the Patron Saint of Spain and there lie his remains.

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Thomas became the missionary to Persia and India (and modern day Pakistan). There have been rumors he journeyed as far as China and Japan; and spent time in Ethiopia. He certainly traveled farther from Israel than any other Apostle. It appears his ministry in India began in the north, in Taxila; proceeded to southern India (Chera); to the southwestern coast (Malabar); and the southeast coast where he was martyred in 72 AD with a spear in Mylapore. He was revered in India by Muslims and Hindus as well. His bones are in a reliquary at Edessa, Turkey.




Matthew (Levi) was a tax collector who wrote the first (and most popular) Gospel in the New Testament in about 48 AD, probably in Antioch.

Matthew was an eyewitness to the Life of Jesus and was known as a fine teacher.

His goal was to convince the Jews that Jesus was their long awaited Messiah.

He was the missionary to the Hebrews; and traveled into the mission field to Syria, Persia and Ethiopia—where it is believed he died.



Where Did Christianity Originate

Bartholomew (Nathaniel bar-Tholami) was a missionary in Ethiopia, Armenia, Mesopotamia (Iraq) and India.

He is best known for his work in the Konkan Coast of western India, which includes Mumbai (Bombay).

He was flayed (skinned alive) and then crucified in Armenia.

Parts of his body are in Germany and England.




Jude Thaddeus preached the Good News to Judea; Samaria; Syria; Libya; Armenia; and (what are now) Iraq and Jordan; before being martyred with an axe in Beirut, Lebanon, in 65 AD.

Simon the Zealot was martyred with St. Jude by being sawed in half. He was a missionary in Egypt, Persia and Armenia. There are legends that have him evangelizing in Ethiopia, Britain, and what is the modern nation of Georgia.

Philip preached in Greece, Syria, Ukraine, and Anatolia—where he was crucified in about 80 AD. He served the Apostles early on as interpreter to Greek-speakers.

James Alphaeus (James the Less) was crucified in Egypt for preaching the Gospel. He might have been the brother of Matthew.

Matthias was the replacement for Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for money and promptly committed suicide. Matthias evangelized in Judea, Ethiopia and what is now Georgia—where he died. His bones are in Trier, Germany.



History of Christianity

Besides the 12 Apostles, there were many others who played key roles in Origin of Christianity. Stephen was the first deacon (servant) of the church and the first martyr (witness). He was illegally stoned to death by the Sanhedrin (Jewish Judges) in 35 AD because of his famous testimony explaining that they had rejected and murdered Jesus, their Messiah. This was a key moment in the History of Christianity.

His murder was approved by Saul of Tarsus—the man later known as Saint Paul. Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit and his face shown like an angel. He forgave his killers as he lay dying in the street. Today, there are churches, schools, monasteries, and hospitals named after him around the globe.



Beginning of Christianity

James the Just was the stepbrother of Jesus, and the first bishop of Jerusalem, which was the center of the church until the city was destroyed in 70 AD. He was a vegetarian, never drank alcohol, did not cut his hair, and was known to pray so often that his knees developed calluses, leading to his nickname "Camel Knees." He lived as a Messianic Jew and wrote a manual for Jewish Christian conduct known as the Epistle of James in 42 AD. James was murdered—he was recruiting Jews for Jesus—by being hurled from a parapet in 62 AD. He forgave his murderers while barely still alive, and then was bashed in the head with a club.

In the destruction of Jerusalem one million Jews were killed by the Romans and 97,000 hauled away as captives. The Jewish Temple, which had stood for 545 years, was completely demolished to the point that it had not one stone left on another—as prophesied by Jesus. All of the books in the New Testament had been written by this time except Revelation. And they were written to be read aloud.

Gospel of Mark

Mark (John Mark) wrote the 2nd Gospel in 46 AD, as it was dictated to him by St. Peter—a gripping story of the divine, miraculous Jesus from his chief disciple.

Mark was a young man from Libya, and a cousin of Barnabas, when the Apostles began to meet in his mother's home in Jerusalem. He went with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. When they decided to go to Galatia, Mark quit the mission.

He quit because he was afraid of the Galatians who lived in the hinterlands of Anatolia. They were a fierce people who were of a race known as Celts, Gaels, Picts, Britons, Gauls, Belgae, and Galicians in other parts of Europe.

Barnabas later wanted to bring Mark along on another mission but Paul refused and they went their separate ways, with Barnabas taking Mark with him to Cyprus to evangelize his home island.

Mark went to Rome as St. Peter's interpreter, before settling in Alexandria where he became the first bishop (45-62) of the (Egyptian) Coptic Church. He was martyred in 68, dragged through the streets behind a horse.



Gospel of Luke

Luke was from Antioch (Syria) and the only Gentile writer of the Bible. He was an educated, cosmopolitan physician with a thorough knowledge of the law. Luke was a gifted writer, who wrote in a concise, elegant, picturesque style. He wrote the Gospel of Luke in 55 AD based on interviews with eyewitnesses—probably including Mary the Mother of Jesus. He has been described as the most widely read and most accurate historian of his era. Many things he wrote were disputed by secular historians only to be proved correct by subsequent archaeological discoveries. Nothing he wrote has been disproved.

Luke authored the Acts of the Apostles, which is about the history of the church from 30 AD to about 65 AD, after traveling with Paul on his mission trips. He was shipwrecked with Paul at Malta and was the only Brother with him when he was arrested in Rome. He died in Greece in 84 AD (Anno Domini—the year Jesus was born, which is how we mark the years on our calendars today).



Paul the Apostle

Barnabas was a large, imposing man who was to become Paul's mentor and travel extensively with him. He was widely respected and active in churches in Antioch, Damascus and Jerusalem. Barnabas was influential in the acceptance of Paul by the nascent church despite Paul having been their chief persecutor not long before—and greatly feared by Christians everywhere.

Barnabas may have written the book of Hebrews. Another possible author is Apollos, who was a great preacher in Corinth, though from Alexandria. Barnabas was brutally martyred in 61 AD in Cyprus, where he is recognized as the founder of the church there.

Apostle Paul

Titus was a gentile convert of Paul who then hosted Christian meetings at his home. Titus helped Paul plant churches in Asia Minor, Macedonia and Dalmatia (Croatia) before being assigned to Crete, where he became the first Christian bishop. He was the recipient of Paul's pastoral letter Titus. He died in 107 at 95 years old.

Silas joined Paul, as his protégé, on his missionary journeys after Paul and Barnabas parted ways. He was a Roman citizen from Jerusalem. Silas and Paul were illegally beaten with rods while naked, and they were in jail together for performing an exorcism in Philippi, where they were miraculously freed—and converted their jailer on the way out.

Paul and Silas were soon joined by the young Timothy, to whom Paul would later address his two pastoral letters. Timothy was from Lystra (Zostera). Paul ordained him the bishop of Ephesus in 65. He was stoned to death in 80 by pagans for preaching the gospel.















St Paul the Apostle

Lastly, we turn to the Apostle Paul. Paul (Saul) was a rabbi, Pharisee, and rising star in the Jewish community who hated Christians and vowed to exterminate them. He would accomplish this by hauling whole families away at night for beatings, stoning, arrests, and executions—a campaign of terror. Paul also had a thorough knowledge of the Torah and had been an outstanding student under the renowned Jewish teacher Gamaliel.

While on his way to Damascus to eliminate Christianity there, he became the last person to see the risen Jesus. Jesus appeared to him in a vision and changed Paul and human history forever. His heart was wholly transformed.

Paul went to live in Damascus—the oldest inhabited community on Earth—and preached there three years. Then Barnabas introduced him to Peter and James in Jerusalem and they gave him their blessing to be a missionary for the church. Paul went first to Anatolia and Syria for eight years. He was a brave, energetic, hearty man to say the least. He was also gregarious, engaging and charismatic with a keen intellect. His message was one of Grace and Mercy; of Faith, Hope and Love. And thousands believed him to speak the Truth.

Paul's next expedition was to Cyprus in 47 where he converted the governor after walking 160 miles across the island. Then it was on to Asia Minor where he won many converts, established churches—and caused riots. After he was stoned to the point of death in Lystra, he retraced his entire route—right back through places he had been chased out of! He even returned to Lystra, before heading on to Macedonia—after walking 500 more miles.

Paul traveled to Philippi (named for Alexander the Great's father) for about a year and preached about Jesus as the Christ (anointed one or Messiah); His resurrection from the dead; and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There he healed the sick and performed exorcisms. Paul moved on to Thessalonica (named for Alexander's half-sister) where he worked 12 hours a day as a tent maker so the church would not have to support him.

Paul then set his sights on Athens, where he gave his famous speech about the "Unknown God" to the Areopagus on Mars Hill. He converted Dionysus, who became the first bishop of Athens.

Paul next went to Corinth—Sin City of the world. To get there was a dangerous 50 mile walk alone on a road infested by bandits, that was very narrow and on a high cliff. Surprisingly to him, he had great success in Corinth. He stayed 18 months and started the church there. He then decided to go back to Jerusalem.

Paul left Jerusalem to return to Antioch and then went to stay in Ephesus for a few years. Following this, it was back to Corinth and Macedonia before traveling to Jerusalem for the last time. Since the majority of these journeys were on foot, one would imagine Paul was in terrific physical condition.

It did not go so well in Jerusalem. He was seized by Jews who tried to kill him for preaching about Jesus Christ at the Jewish Temple, but was saved by Roman army officers—who promptly arrested him. The Jews plotted to kill him while in transport with the Romans to Caesarea to stand trial, but his nephew tipped him off and they escaped the trap. He spent two years under house arrest before appealing to Caesar as a Roman citizen—and his wish was fulfilled that he would be shipped to Rome to stand trial there. During this journey he was shipwrecked on Malta and bitten by a deadly viper—but miraculously lived.

Paul was beheaded by Nero in 67, but not before writing 1/4 of the New Testament. Five times he had been arrested, imprisoned, and given 39 lashes. Today, there is a church named St. Paul's in virtually every city in the Western World.



When Did Christianity Start?

By the year 100 there were Christians in all provinces of the Roman Empire, living in astonishing unity though thousands of miles apart. Everywhere, they practiced baptism, shared Communion and celebrated Easter.

"That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so loft an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospel. After two centuries of Higher Criticism the outlines of the life, character, and teaching of Christ, remain reasonably clear, and constitute the most fascinating feature of the history of Western man." Will Durant, American Historian


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 23, 2012:

Sagittarius 2012— Thank you very much for the pair of comments you made here two weeks back.

You claim that "Herod the Great was not bad." He was a barbarian to say the least, and committed unspeakable cruelties. I guess it depends on what you call "bad." He was grotesquely self-indulgent and borderline insane. Sure, he was a brilliant politician and in many ways was good to certain Jews. It is not like he was 'elected' the King of the Jews. He seized the throne by force with an army of 36,000 men. He murdered his brother-in-law and then killed his own wife and then executed his mother-in-law and then had his own flesh and blood sons strangled. You call that a "good man?"

His first act on assuming power in Jerusalem was to murder 46 members of the Sanhedrin. He built up an enormous personal fortune by confiscating the property of those he considered potential enemies.

Sure, was generous with those who supported him and he built a lot of magnificent edifices out of his desire to be immortal by building buildings that might last for thousands of years. But countless murders paved his pathway to the throne. Not to mention he killed John the Baptist for mentioning the inconvenient fact that Herod was living in adultery with the wife of his own brother.

You wrote: "There is a big problem is accusation of Herod the Great that he had order the Massacre of Innocent boys in Bethlehem. Modern biographers of Herod, like historian Michael Grant, doubt that the event took place."

I could not care less what "modern biographers" think about the Truths of the Bible. Since Jesus was resurrected a war has gone on between Satan and Christians. Naturally, Satan uses men such as "modern biographers" to cast doubt on God's Word. If God says Herod killed baby boys then he killed baby boys. It would certainly not have been out of character for him to do so.

Sagittarius 2012 from Canada on June 05, 2012:


Towards 20 B.C. it began the reconstruction of the temple of Jerusalem, inaugurated in 10 B.C. ( now days called Salomon's Temple)

The public order

He fought against the marauders of the desert. He exterminated the gangs that wandered about in the frontier regions.

Friend of Octavianus

Antony was defeated by Octavianus at Actium the 2 September of 31 B.C. Herod readily helped the governor of Syria engaged in repressing a putsch of followers of Antony. Then he went to Rhodes in order to meet Octavianus and to put himself at his service. He obtained the confirmation of his reign and had back the lands that Cleopatra had taken. Moreover Samaria , the cities of Ippo and Gadara, and some coastal cities were entrusted to him. The guard of Cleopatra, constituted by 400 Galatians, became his personal guard.

Herod changed the name of Samaria in Sebaste, sebastòs in Greek means Augustus.


Making to horrify the conservative Hebrew he promoted athletic shows and circensian games. Beginning from 28 B.C. he introduced the quinquennial games, like the Olympic games.

Protector of Hebrews of Diaspora

The Hebrews of the Ionia had demanded to the Romans of being exempted from the military service, of considering to all the effects festive the saturday and therefore not to be cited in judgment in such day, of not being forced to assume expensive public office, etc. Herod in 14 B.C. addressed his friend Agrippa and succeeded to obtain what the Hebrews asked.

Difficult relationships with the Pharisees

In 6 B.C. he proceeded against the Pharisees who had vaticinated that, with the birth of the Messiah, the reign of Herod would come to the end.

In 4 B.C. some young people, pushed by the Pharisees, pulled down the Eagle that Herod had placed at the entrance of the temple of Jerusalem. He immediately ordered that they were arrested and condemned.

Death of Herod

At the end of March or at the first days of April of 4 B.C. Herod died after a long disease; and it was years before Christ was born."

James, I would like to invite you to trace history of Edom from its very beginning; it is an incredible journey;  maybe you are one of them   :)

Sagittarius 2012 from Canada on June 04, 2012:

James, I trully apriciate your respond and have to say that I agree with you at least on one point.

You say that

 "in general, Edomites tormented Israel, and therefore the name Edom was hated and detested by the Jews. And specifically, after the Herod reigned, who was an Edomite, 

and who was very bad to Israel."

James, I agree with you that Herod was an Edomite, in fact, he was an Edomite after his father and an Arab after his mother, however, the rest of your statement is false.

The true is, based on facts from history and the Bible, that it was Edomites who were tormented by Israel, and Herod the Great was not bad, but the best king Jews ever had. 

 Herod who never called himself  great, (Great was added to him after his death in appreciation what he have done for Judea and the Jews), was the best what could happened to the Jews at that time.

If you have any interest in history at the times of Herod, I would recommend to read biography of Herod the Great by Michael Grant, or article about Herod in National Geographic. 

There is a big problem is accusation of Herod the Great that he had order the Massacre of Innocent boys in Bethlehem. 

Modern biographers of Herod, like historian Michael Grant, doubt that the  event took place.



Herod the Great, who reigned over Palestine from 37 to 4 B.C., is famous as he was accused to have achieved the presumed massacre of the innocents. 

The only prosecutor was the evangelist Mattew (2.1-18).

Even ignoring the objections referring to the year and the place of birth of Jesus, we can assert that:

- Herod had not the authority to sentence death without 

the approval of the Sanhedrim and in some important cases without the explicit approval of the Romans.

- If Herod had issued such an order Rome would have stopped him, if not for humaneness, certainly to avoid breaches of the peace.

Herod was a great king, enemy of the Hebraic religious integralisme, continuator of the work of Alexander the Great: a common culture for the West and the East without ethnic or religious distinctions. 

For this vision of him and for his Edomite - Arabic origin he was slandered by the Jewish tradition that transformed him in a bloodthirsty monster. 

The origin of Herod.

Herod the Great was born about 73 B.C. by Idumean (Edomite) father, Antipater, and by an Arabic mother, Cyprus, indigenous of Petra, capital of the Nabataeans. 

Idumaea, a region between the reign of Judah and the desert of the Negev, had been conquered by the Jews and its inhabitants were converted forcedly to Judaism at the times of the Hansomean king John Hyrcanus I.

"Hyrcanus initiated a military campaign against the Idumeans in the Negev near Eilat. During this campaign Hyrcanus  conquered Adora, Marisa and other Idumean towns (Ant.13.257). 

Hyrcanus then instituted forced conversions on the Idumeans."

Herod had three brothers (Joseph, Fasael, Ferora) and one sister, Salomè.

Antipater: the father of Herod.

Herod's father, an Idumean nobleman, was councellor 

of the Jewish king Hyrcanus II. 

Hyrcanus, of the dynasty of the Hasmonean, had come to the throne in 67 B.C. at the death of his mother Alessandra. 

The younger brother Aristobulos had begun a civil war 

in order to get hold of the throne, succeeding to drive 

Hyrcanus out of Jerusalem. 

Then Hyrcanus had asked help to Arab Nabateans 

and to Pompeius the Great....

In the 63 B.C. Pompeius freed Jerusalem, gave the throne back to Hyrcanus and sent to Rome Aristobulos and his sons.

Antipater, who at the time of Queen Alexandra had 

been governor of the native Idumaea, immediately

took the part of Hyrcanus and it helped him in his 

relationship with the Romans. 

He was friend of Pompeius and at the right moment 

of Cesar, who named him epitropos of the Judah, 

a title not official but that recognized to the Idumean 

one an authority deriving from the Romans.

The beginnings of Herod

In 47 B.C. Antipater named Herod the Idumean governor of the Galilee and Fasael, his brother, governor of Jerusalem.

Herod manifested himself decided in fighting marauders 

and put Ezechia and his band to death. 

The Sanhedrim, dominated by the conservatives, 

did not appreciate of having been supplanted in death 

sentences and put Herod under accusation . 

Sextus Caesar, the Roman governor of Syria, defended Herod and entrusted him with an important task, perhaps he named him governor of Coele Syria and Samaria.

The Roman civil war

In 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was killed and Cassius Longinus, one of the conspirators, went to Syria in order to collect troops and money for the civil war.

Antipater and Herod sided with Cassius. 

Herod saw his powers widened and had at his disposal a fleet and an army.

In 43 B.C. Antipater was killed by Malico, exponent of the conservative antiroman opposition. 

Herod and Marc Antony

In the autumn of 42 B.C. Antony and Octavianus defeated Brutus and Cassius, who killed themselves. 

Herod, really skillful, ran to Ephesus to the winner and 

obtained his friendship, in addition to the title of tetrarch, 

that was given to Fasael too.

Antigonus and the Parthians

In the 40 B.C. Antigonus, the son of Aristobulos, younger brother of Hyrcanus, formed an alliance with the Parthians who invaded Palestine and removed Hyrcanus from the throne, to whom ears were cut. Hyrcanus, due to his impairment could have claimed the throne no more. Fasael was captured and killed while he was dealing with the Parthians.

Herod escaped in the fortress of Masada. Then, entrusted the defense to his brother Joseph, he went towards Petra, but the king of the Nabateans Malco did not want to receive him. Then Herod went to Egypt at Cleopatra, then to Rhodes, to Brindisi and finally to Rome at Antony.

King without reign

At the end of 40 B.C. Antony convinced the Roman Senate to name Herod king of Judah, allied and friend of the Roman people.

In the spring of 39 B.C. Herod disembarked at Ptolemais (Acco, Acri) on the coast of high Galilee. It gathered an army, freed his brother Joseph besieged at Masada and began the fight against Antigonus.

In February of 37 B.C. he began to besiege Jerusalem. After five months, with the aid of the Roman troops of Sosius, he entered the city. The Romans took Antigonus, who later was made killed by Antony. Herod had his reign.

The land to the peasants

To the peasants without land Herod gave in rent immense portions of his lands with the obligation to cultivate them. He reclaimed lands, made canalizations for the irrigation, helped the constitution of model farms . He yielded cleared lands to the peasants who had lost their land. Herod's agricultural politics had great succes and Octavianus gave to Herod other regions outside his reign.

Expropriation of the noble ones

Herod found lands and the resources in order to value them, expropriating the aristocracy that had supported Antigonus and taking control of all the assets of the Asmoneans.

Herod in transactions

Herod earned a lot renting from Cleopatra cultivations of balsamina, used for the preparation of ointments, incenses, cosmetics.

He exploited the deposits of asphalt of the Dead Sea.

He carried out, like his father, activity of banking type lend money to principles and kings.

In 12 B.C. he rented from Augustus the copper mines of Cyprus.

The constructions

Herod built palaces and castles of Jerusalem, Jericho, Sepphoris in Galilee, Bethrampta in Perea, of Ascalona, the Herodion, the fortress of Hyrcania. he made many works in order to render the fortress of Masada safer.

He founded the city of Antipatrides, today Ras el' ain, and of Fasaelides, today Chirbet fas'il.

He constructed sports centers, theatres, aqueducts, roads, ports.

In 27 B.C. he began the reconstruction of Samaria, called Sebaste.

In 22 B.C. he began the reconstruction of Caesarea and of its port, inaugurated in 9 B.C.

Towards 20 B.C. i

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 04, 2012:

Sagittarius 2012— Thank you for your commentaries. As far as the book you noted, "The Key of David" by Warder Cresson, I find that it was written "for any Christian or Jew questioning the validity or authenticity of their own religion." Well sir, that leaves me out because I do not question the validity or authenticity of my religion whatsoever. The author, by the way, was declared insane by his own family in a court of law.

And while you claim this book is popular among Jewish scholars that is simply not the case. Someone has given you faulty information. A book I edited is twice as popular on Amazon for instance and I am nobody. This book is not "popular" with anyone.

I see no connection between Edomites and Gentiles at all. Edomites were a Semitic people. You quote God as saying, ""there shall not be any remaining of the House of Esau," but there are plenty of Gentiles around this world. The Edomites once worshiped Yahweh but they fell into Satan worship later—Baal.

There is no suggestion anywhere that Edomites had anything to do with Christianity. There are Christians from every nationality under the sun—they do not come from a particular stock or genetic family. Obviously, all of the first Christians were firmly Jewish—Jesus included—Peter, Paul, John, etc etc etc. Until Luke comes along there are virtually all Jewish—not Edomites.

You write that "Christianity became the established religion, under Constantine." But that is not true. The Edict of Milan ended hundreds of years of killing Christians because of their faith, it made their religion legal instead of illegal. The Christian Faith was already "established" with millions of adherents—more than any other religion in the world at that time.

There is nothing in history that connects Edom with Romans. 20,000 Edomites fought against Rome on the side of Israel in 70 AD.

Ibn Ezra may have said that the people of the new faith were called Edom because the first ones who believed in the Nazarene were from the people of Edom. But this is false. The first people who believed in the Nazarene were Jews! Followed by Greeks and Romans—not Edomites. I would not depend on a Jew from the Middle Ages to tell you what a Christian is—at a time when Jews were being persecuted for killing Jesus by Europeans. The New Testament can describe what a Christian is much better.

The name Edom was a nickname for Romans but NOT because of their Christian faith. The first time Rome is called Edom there were hardly any Christians in Rome at all. So it was not because of the Christian faith that this nickname came about.

Edom as mentioned in the Torah and other holy books {of Tanach} refers to the nation which dwells between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, and it was never the intent to refer to the kingdom of Rome nor any of the nations of Europe. And all of the days the First Temple stood, and the Second {Temple}, the only one called Edom were the actual descendants of Esav. However, after the destruction of the second Temple, the Jews began to call the kingdom of Rome by the name Edom. And this was because in general, the Edomites tormented Israel, and therefore the name Edom was hated and detested by Jews. And specifically, after the Herod reigned, who was an Edomite and who was very bad to Israel. When the Temple was destroyed at the hands of the Romans, the hatred of the Jews passed from Edom to Rome. Therefore (and also because of fear), they nicknamed Rome with the name Edom. And the intent is not at all to the people of the new faith—Christians—but rather to the Roman empire which destroyed the Temple at Jerusalem, and somewhat to all the places that their rule and language extended.

EDOM AS ROME - Encyclopedia Judaica- "The identification of Edom with Rome is never found in the literature of the Second Temple period. It appears for the first time close to the Bar Kokhba revolt (cf.Margolioth, p. 610/2). The intense hatred of Rome after the cruel crushing of the revolt of the Diaspora in the time of Trajan and still more after the harsh suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt and the decrees of persecution in Hadrian's days; the fact that Rome, like Edom, had destroyed the Temple . . .

combined to cause the application to Rome of the biblical references to Edom, the eternal enemy of Israel. At the end of the tannaitic period, and still more in the amoraic, the identification became very widespread, and the overwhelming majority of homilies about Edom speak explicitly of Rome. Thus it was stated that Rome was founded by the children of Esau, and Rome was identified as one of the cities of the chiefs of Esau enumerated at the end of Genesis 36 (these identifications occur not only in the Midrashim and the Talmuds but also in the Palestinian Targums of the Torah and in the Targums to Lamentations and Esther). At a still later period the term became a synonym for Christian Rome and thence for Christianity in general, and allusions were even found to Constantinople among the cities of Edom (and see Caesarea)."

You write: "the descendants of Esau are in fact the Essaios race of the DSS, and that they are the original Christians, as the Jewish scholars tells us."

This is patently false.

You write: "Careful reading of the Book of Genesis, indicates that in fact Esau / Edom, not Jacob / Israel, was the true carrier of Abrahamic religion."

This is completely wrong.

But I surely appreciate you engaging in this discussion with me. A Christian is not a bloodline it is a spiritual condition. You can be descended from Edomites, Jews, Chinese, Africans, Norwegians, Spaniards, or Aztecs and be a Christian. It is a universal religion founded by a Jew and promulgated by Jews. But it is for everybody willing to be saved.

Sagittarius 2012 from Canada on May 21, 2012:

My appology James, for my mistake and calling you John.

Sagittarius 2012 from Canada on May 21, 2012:

You are welcome John, I used to say - these are not compliments, just a simple truth.

John, if you find my insights interesting,  then I would like to share with you some of reliable information about origin of Christianity, which I have encounter while searching for infos about Esau and his Edomite / Idumean Nation.

John, it is interesting to notice what Jews think about the origin of Christians and Gentiles in general; after all, they are the masters of studying their scripture.

Over a decade ago, searching Internet for information about Edom, I've found this site. In fact, it was the # 1 site to be display when you typed the keyword - Edom.  

This page was a part of the book called,  The Key of David, by Warder Cresson 

(Michael Boaz Israel ben Abraham)

Published: 1852 , 

and it teaches us about the Jewish point of view on origin of Christianity. I was surprise what I've found reading this book, however, looking at historical background of the Nation of Edom, this theory sounds plausible.

Without looking in to Talmud, this book is the most popular book within Jewish circles, teaching Jews  about Christians and their Edomite / Aramean origin

I will provide fragments of this book and the link:

The Key of David, by Warder Cresson 

(Michael Boaz Israel ben Abraham)

Published: 1852 

Origin of Edom, Babylon, and Rome, or Christianity 

God has declared that he has "magnified his Word above all his name." (Ps. 138:2.) How very careful then should we be to give diligent heed to his Written Word.

It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that we become acquainted with the Genealogy of the Gentiles, who are Esau, or Edom, for God has declared

 "that every one of the Mount (or House) of Esau may, 

or shall, be cut off by slaughter," (see Obad. 9 v.,) and that "there shall not be any remaining of the House of Esau,* 

for the Lord has spoken it." Verse 18th.

* God confirms this and says "Amalek was first of the nations , (Amalek was son of Eliphaz, and grandson to Edom or Esau, see Gen. 36:9 and 12,) but his latter end shall be that he perish forever," (Num. 24:20,) and this corresponds with Obadiah and all the rest of the Prophets.

If these words of God be true--we cannot, and should not, spare any pains, however great, in order to ascertain who Esau, or Edom, is. See Gen. 27:30 and 36....

  Christianity became the established religion, under Constantine;* hence Babylon, Rome, Edom, and Christianity are one....

The Great Wise Men and Rabbis Kimchi, Ibn-Ezra, and Maimonides, and Abarbanel, all unite with the foregoing Scripture testimony in saying, that all the Gentile Christians are the seed, or children, of Esau, or Edom, and that "the prophets did not only prophecy against the land of Edom, which is in the neighborhood of the land of Israel, but against the seed of Rome, or Edom, which is of the root, or rather children of Kittim, or Chittim."....

We have plenty of information about Edom in the Bible, Genesis 36, and some interesting statements from archeological scholars. 

These archeological statements posted below, refer to the time before David and Solomon, before the genocide of Edomites, descendants of Esau, done by Joab, one of David's Israelite generals.

With this Genocide, Israelites destroyed metallurgical industry of Edom and blocked the main trade roads of Arabia and Middle East.

We read about this genocide in the Bible.

In 1 King 11 we read:

Solomon’s Adversaries

"14 Then the Lord raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom. 

15 Earlier when David was fighting with Edom, Joab the commander of the army, who had gone up to bury the dead, had struck down all the men in Edom. 

16 Joab and all the Israelites stayed there for six months, until they had destroyed all the men in Edom. 

17 But Hadad, still only a little child, fled to Egypt with some Edomite officials who had served his father." 

Now let's go back to the archeological excavation of Essaios race and their territories:

From the Brown University professor emerita Martha Sharp Joukowsky, present directing the archaeological excavations of the Great Temple at Petra, Jordan, came this statement:

"According to tradition, in ca. 1200 BCE, the Petra area (but not necessarily the site itself) was populated by Edomites and the area was known as Edom ("red"). 

Before the Israelite incursions, the Edomites controlled the trade routes from Arabia in the south to Damascus in the north.

 Little is known about the Edomites at Petra itself, but as a people they were known for their wisdom, their writing, their textile industry, the excellence and fineness of their ceramics, and their skilled metal working."

In the last century, the idea of highly developed civilization of Edom was rejected by many Israelite and modern scholars, however, recent excavations such as the 2002-2004 UCSD dig at Khirbat an-Nahs in Jordan have shed new light on history of Edom, unearthing artifacts and evidence of settled society as early as the thirteen through tenth centuries BCE.

"The Edomite lowlands, home to a large copper ore zone, have been ignored by archaeologists because of the logistical difficulties of working in this hyper-arid region. 

But with an anthropological perspective, and using high precision radiocarbon dating, this new research demonstrates two major phases of copper production—during the 12th to 11th centuries B.C. and the 10th to 9th centuries B.C. In this period evidence was found of construction of massive fortifications and industrial scale metal production activities, as well as over 100 building complexes."

Careful reading of the Book of Genesis, indicates that in fact Esau / Edom, not Jacob / Israel, was the true carrier of Abrahamic religion. 

Genesis 36 tells us, that the first born son of Esau and Adah, the Hittite, was named Eliphaz; the Book of Job makes it clear that after Esau, he was the carrier of Abrahamic religion and of the blessing. 

Eliphaz was one of Job's three friends who visited him in his affliction. (The Book of Job - chapter 2). In the dialogues, he states with remarkable force of language the infinite purity and majesty of God.

Esau was the founder of the nation of Edom, and Edom was known before Christ times as Idumea. 

Before the time of Christ, Idumea was located between Judea and Nabataea and it's capital city was Hebron.

Esau – in Greek Esai, means “God is salvation, God is great gift”.

In Hebrew the meaning of this name is “he that acts or finishes”. (From Wikipedia)

Esau was renamed as Edom / Greek Idumea, and in the second century B.C. his descendants were peacefully living in the country called Idumea - located south of Judea.

John Hyrcanus, a son of one of the Maccabee brothers, ruled Judea from 134-104 BC. He forcibly conquered Samaria and Scythopolis. "John's wars of fire and sword were marked by massacres of city populations whose only crime was that they were Greek-speaking.

The province of Idumea was also conquered by the Jews and the inhabitants of its two main cities, Adora and Mariss, were forcibly converted to Judaism or slaughtered if they refused.

The following is from Josephus Antiquities 13:9:1:

"... Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, and the rest of the Jewish ways of living; "

John, I think we have several strong points to make a plausible statement, that the descendants of Esau are in fact the Essaios race of the DSS, and that they are the original Christians, as the Jewish scholars tells us.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 21, 2012:

Sagittarius 2012— Thank you for the kind compliments. I appreciate your fascinating insights. Yes, I think it is possible that the name Essenes could have something to do with "Esau." I have no proof of it but it could be so. I don't think the Essenes could be named after Jesus Christ (as I said earlier) since they predated Him by quite a ways.

Sagittarius 2012 from Canada on May 15, 2012:

James, - you are welcome. I have noticed many more of your very well written historical hubs; great material for future exploration.

James, going back to the origin of Essenes, there is interesting article on Wiki which says that Essenes were often called "Essaois race":

"Josephus uses the name Essenes in his two main accounts[9][10] as well as in some other contexts ("an account of the Essenes";[11] "the gate of the Essenes";[12] "Judas of the Essene race";[13]

 but some manuscripts read here Essaion; "holding the Essenes in honour";[14] "a certain Essene named Manaemus";[15] "to hold all Essenes in honor";[16] "the Essenes").[17][18][19] 

In several places, however, Josephus has Essaios, which is usually assumed to mean Essene ("Judas of the Essaios race";[20] "Simon of the Essaios race";[21] "John the Essaios";[22] "those who are called by us Essaioi";[23] "Simon a man of the Essaios race").[24] Philo's usage is Essaioi, although he admits this Greek form of the original name that according to his etymology signifies "holiness" to be inexact.[25] Pliny's Latin text has Esseni.[6][26] Josephus identified the Essenes as one of the three major Jewish sects of that period."

Reading Quran I have noticed that the Arabs call Jesus Essa son of Mary; Jesus / Essa is one of the main Prophets of Islam who are called in Quran by name. It would match the idea that Essaios are followers of this Essa - Jesus. 

One of the problems, as you have noticed, is that Essaios were living in Palestine 150 years before Jesus/Essa was born.

However, reading  Quran and knowing Bible, it get in to my attention that there are two Prophets of Islam who are called in Quran by the name Essa.

There is the the Essa / Jesus son of Mary and there is another Prophet Essa living in Patriarch's time. From the setting it looks like this Prophet Essa is from the line of Isaac and ancestor of Job (both, main Prophets of Islam).

Ahmed Deedat, one of the famous Islamic scholars, says that there in no difference between the names Essa/Jesus and Essa/Esau.

From the Bible, the Book of Genesis, we know that Essa/ Esau was the grandson of Abraham and firstborn and beloved son of Isaac. This Essa/Esau, was also the older tween brother of Jacob/Israel.

James, do you think that I would be possible that the " Essaios race" / Essenes, are in fact descendants of Essa / Esau, the firstborn and beloved son of Isaac?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 14, 2012:

Sagittarius 2012— You are welcome. Thank you for posting such fascinating remarks. I am of course thrilled that you enjoy my writings.

I appreciate you bringing to my attention the "House of the Virgin Mary." I had not heard of this before. It is plausible that it is genuine.

I don't see how the Essenes could have meant their name to mean "followers of Jesus" since they were in existence a couple hundred years before Jesus walked the earth.

The Essenes did not have the chief idea of the Christian Faith, which is that it is universal—for all men in the whole world. The Essenes were quite strictly Jewish and aiming to remain Jewish only. Essenes were born not converted.

It could very well be that the Essenes sensed the Messiah was coming and coming soon. But like most all Jews, they misunderstood what His coming would mean.

As far as militancy and violence, I am quoting from one of my favorite historians, the great Paul Johnson. When you first asked about the Essenes, I immediately reached for his "A History of Christianity." They seem to have hated outsiders and been willing to express this with bloodshed. Among the Essene literature was found menacing documents that included war plans and military training methods.

There is no evidence that the Essenes created a religion based upon the person of Jesus Christ.

The Essenes had a prophet they called the "Teacher of Righteousness" but he lived long before Jesus and was probably Kohen, a priest descended from Zadok. It could be that the Essenes thought this man was the Messiah, just as many mistakenly thought John the Baptist was.

Thanks again for your learned expressions and interesting questions.

Sagittarius 2012 from Canada on May 06, 2012:

Hello James, 

thank you for your warm welcome. Reading your hubs is truly a pleasure, I envy you your writing talent.

 I'm not a good writer, but while reading interesting articles, like yours, I always want to learn some more, and tent to ask questions. So allow me:

Last October while visiting Ephez,  the guide took us to the  nearby mountain and show us the house of Mary;  what do you think about this house, is it the original house of Mary?

Regarding Essenes, you say they were "militant and violent", do you have links to any documents to support your point?

Years ago someone asked interesting question on hub pages:

"Essenes means, "Followers of Essa" and Essa is Arabic for Jesus. 

We know that the Essenes lived in Palestine and Egypt between 200 B.CE. and 100 A.D.

They were: The Theraputae of Egypt, the Essenes of Qumran, and the Essenes of Mount Carmel.

 Essenes established Christianity as a religion they used the term for the Messiah which we know as Jesus in its modern term.

Who then was Essa / Jesus they followed?

Could there be another Jesus, the Christ in ancient India or Egypt, before the birth of Biblical Jesus?"

James, do you know any Essa from the Bible or history, leader or maybe ancestor of Essenes.

One more question,  you say that Essenes were a pure, strict Jewish sect founded by priests that predated Jesus by 150 years. From history we know that in 150 B.C.E. it could be only Sadducees or Pharisee. I think we can certainly exclude Sadducees (no live after death), so we are left with Pharisee.

We know that the Pharisee were very strict, traditional Jewish sect; know them well from the wars of Mahebees.

James,  don't you think that it would be much to much for the not satisfy Pharisee priests and members, to create a new sect which will:

- create new rituals; sacred meal of bread and wine, etc.

- change calendar from Jewish lunar to Hellenistic solar.

- change language, from Jewish Hebrew to Hellenistic Aramaic.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 04, 2012:

Sagittarius 2012— Welcome to the HubPages Community. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your discerning comments and keen questions.

The Essenes were a pure, strict Jewish sect founded by priests that predated Jesus by about 150 years. The Essenes were an important and respected movement of perhaps 4,000 people, scattered about, as you say, centered at the Qumran (I have been there) monastery.

The Essenes saw the temple at Jerusalem as no longer significant and saw themselves as an elect within an elect. The temple of God had thus moved from a physical building to a community of worshippers. It does seem that the Essenes longed for a New Covenant with God.

It does appear that the Essenes developed a sacral meal of bread and wine, which took place at the Hall of the Covenant. However, I do not think we can consider the Essenes as Christians.

Instead, I see the Essenes as an extreme apocalyptic-eschatological group, militant and violent, seeing all Gentiles as the enemies of God.

The Christian Faith—unlike the Essenes—features a matrix for a world-wide, universal religion.

John the Baptist was probably an Essene monk. The Essenes seem to have anticipated the Christ. I see them as a bridge movement from Temple Judaism to Jesus Christ.

Sagittarius 2012 from Canada on April 30, 2012:

What role played Essenes in development of Christianity? Are not, in fact, the first followers of Christ members of the Esseness?

It is not the reason, the sect of Essenes is not mentioned in the New Testament, because the first Christians at that time were known as Essenes?

From DDS, and other historical writings, we know now that Essenes were as popular as Pharisee and Saducee, and were living in Palestine, Syria and Egypt.

Who were the Essenes?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 18, 2012:

ron— Thank you for reading my article. I would hope it is self-explanatory.

ron on January 17, 2012:

when did christianity originate

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 11, 2011:

george lopez— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D

george lopez on December 08, 2011:


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 09, 2011:

Ron— You are welcome. I am glad that you appreciate this article.

Jesus was a Rabbi. I believe he said he came not to oppose the Law but to fulfill it. The word "fulfill" here is translated from the Greek word "plero," which means to satisfy or complete.

Except for Luke, I don't think the writers of the Gospels considered their work to "history" in man's sense of the word. It is meant to be a "Revelation" of Jesus Christ—who is he? And what does it mean?

Luke, I think, is regarded as a top-flight historian by most scholars of the ancient world.

As far as Christology goes, I believe the orthodox view that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. It seems to me that Peter and surely John expressed this, as well as the author of Hebrews (perhaps Paul dictating?).

I don't think Jesus "replaced God." When I pray, it is always to the Father "In Jesus name"—in other words that my prayer will be heard because I have a blameless intercessor.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. Your comments are thoughtful and most excellent.

This is the first (or second—if you count my "Life of Jesus") episode of which there are by now 30-some, stretching up to the 19th century so far as a comprehensive History of the Christian Faith. The followup to this one is here:

Ron on September 07, 2011:

Thank you James for your rather traditional take on Christianity. Appreciate the read although some scholars may take upbridge with your conclusions.

Few would argue that Jesus teaching are not the basis upon which Christianity is founded. Many scholars would say however that Jesus was a "Zelot for the law" as were his followers, which of course means he was a rabbinical Jew. James , almost certainly his half brother being the formost in the Zelous belief. Jesus repeatedly denies any claim to diety or any deviation from the "Law" what so ever. Some would claim that St. Paul almost single handedly created Jesus's divinity and replace God with Jesus as our divine conduit to savior. Since the Acts and Epistles of Paul whom most scholars consider predate the 4 gospels it may be likely that they draw a large part of their doctrine from Pauls letters and the Act in general.

While there is little doubt that at least two of these writers knew Jesus personally, it seems strange that their gospels are not a acurate chronological history of Jesus (Perhaps they say no need for it)but more of a devotional text.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 23, 2011:

platinumOwl4— Yes, I suppose they did use models. I am not sure if a painting is a graven image. Weren't graven images part of idol worship? The worship of wood and stone? I surely do not worship these paintings. I only put them in this Hub to break up the text and add a bit of beauty for the eye to behold.

Surely someone did know how these men looked but hardly any art survives from their times. I do think it is amazing that pictures of Jesus have a remarkable consistency. I have read one art critic say that it is possible artists copied other art (non-extant) made when the subjects were in living memory. In other words, it is possible that some these images are real to some degree.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 22, 2011:

tlpoague— Thank you for wishing me luck. I do appreciate your encouragement. I will be announcing the completion of my book here on Hub Pages first. :)

platinumOwl4 on June 21, 2011:

These are great artist expressions and the artist were exquisite. However, you must know they used models. And somewhere in the wisdom of the bible it says something about not having graven images. You are familiar with the phrase a picture is worth a thousand words.Painting did not start with these artist I am a firm believer that some one had to have known how they looked. I give you credit for having a great deal of intelligence don't disappoint me at this juncture.

Tammy on June 21, 2011:

I wish you the best of luck in publishing your book. I know it will be a success. I look forward to purchasing it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 21, 2011:

tlpoague— You are most welcome. Thank you for reading my article. I appreciate your gracious remarks. Funny you should ask: I am working right now to finish up the 19th and 20th centuries in this history of Christianity. I have published 30 Hubs in this series so far. I am putting it into a book, which I hope to publish yet this summer.

Tammy on June 18, 2011:

What an interesting piece of history to read. The pictures are amazing too. I have often wondered how these apostles intertwined with each other in history. Just out of curiousity, have you published this series in a book yet? This would be a must buy in my book. Thanks for sharing this priceless information.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 18, 2011:

platinumOwl4— Where did I find paintings by Rubens, Michelangelo, El Greco, Donatello, Carravaggio, and Murillo? They are in the public domain. They are famous paintings. What do you mean by "misrepresentations?" These are pieces of art. No one knows what they really looked like.

platinumOwl4 on June 18, 2011:

Where did you find these pictures that misrepresent the apostles of Jesus?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 04, 2011:

manthy— Thank you very much for giving my Hub that link. I am honored. I also appreciate your compliments on t