THE DRAMA OF THE LOST DISCIPLES #1
by George f. Jowett (1961)
THE NOBILIS DECURIO
JOSEPH of Arimathea was a man of refinement, well educated,
and one who possessed many talents. He had extraordinary
political and business ability and was reputed to be one of the
wealthiest men in the world of that time. He was the Carnegie of
his day, a metal magnate controlling the tin and lead industry
which then was akin in importance to that of steel today.
Tin was the chief metal for the making of alloys and in great
demand by the warring Romans.
Many authorities claim that Joseph's world control of tin
and lead was due to his vast holdings in the famous, ancient tin
mines of Britain. This interest he had acquired and developed
many years before Jesus was baptized by His cousin, John the
Baptist, and before He began His brief but glorious mission.
The world's major portion of tin was mined in Cornwall,
smelted into ingots and exported throughout the then known
civilized world, chiefly in the ships of Joseph. He is reputed to
have owned one of the largest private merchant shipping fleets
afloat which traversed the world's sea lanes in the
transportation of this precious metal.
The existence of the tin trade between Cornwall and
Phoenicia is frequently referred to by classical writers, and is
described at considerable length by Diodorus Siculus as well as
In the Latin Vulgate of the Gospel of St. Mark 15:43, and
St. Luke 23:50, we find both referring to Joseph of Arimathea as
'Decurio'. This was the common term employed by the Romans to
designate an official in charge of metal mines.
In St. Jerome's translation, Joseph's official title is
given as 'Nobilis Decurio'. This would indicate that he held a
prominent position in the Roman administration as a minister of
mines. For a Jew to hold such high rank in the Roman State is
rather surprising, and goes far to prove the remarkable
characteristics of Joseph. We know he was an influential member
of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious body that ruled Roman
Jewry, and a legislative member of a provincial Roman senate. His
financial and social standing can well be estimated when we
consider he owned a palatial home in the holy city and a fine
country residence just outside Jerusalem.
Several miles north of the ancient city he possessed another
spacious estate at Arimathea, which is known today as Ramalleh.
It was located on the populous caravan route between Nazareth and
Jerusalem. Everything known of him points to him as affluent and
as a person of importance and influence within both the Jewish
and Roman hierarchies.
According to the Talmud, Joseph was the younger brother of
the father of the Virgin Mary. He was her uncle, and therefore a
great uncle to Jesus. Chiefly from the secular reports we learn
that Joseph was a married man and his son, Josephes, left a mark
of distinction in British history.
During the lifetime of Jesus there constantly appears
reference to his association with a relative at Jerusalem.
Profane history is more positive on the matter, identifying the
connection with Joseph. As we study the old records we find there
is a valid reason for the close association of Jesus and his
family with Joseph. It is quite obvious that the husband of Mary
died while Jesus was young. Under Jewish law such a circumstance
automatically appointed the next male kin of the husband, in this
case Joseph, legal guardian of the family. This fact explains
many things. History and tradition report Jesus, as a boy,
frequently in the company of His uncle, particularly at the time
of the religious feasts, and declares that Jesus made voyages to
Britain with Joseph in his ships. Cornish traditions abound with
this testimony and numerous ancient landmarks bear Hebrew names
recording these visits.
Even during the short period of the ministry of Jesus there
is definitely shown to exist a close affinity between them, far
greater than one would expect from an ordinary guardianship. It
was fatherly, loyal, with a mutual affection death could not
We know that Joseph never forsook his nephew. He stood by
Him as a bold, fearless defender at the notorious trial, and
defied the Sanhedrin by going to Pilate and boldly claiming the
body when all others feared to do so. His arms were the first to
cradle the broken corpse when taken from the cross and place it
in the tomb. After death he continued to protect the mutilated
body of Jesus from the conspiring minds of the Sadducees. He
risked his all, wealth, power and position in those crucial years
fulfilling his obligation as guardian of Jesus and of the family
of Mary. He loved Jesus dearly. The disciples spoke of Joseph
with an affectionate regard. They wrote he was a 'just man', a
'good man', 'honourable', and 'a disciple of Jesus'. The latter
clearly indicates that all through their association Joseph must
THE NOBILIS DECURIO
Jesus in His great work and that he was aware of the mystery
of His birth and probaby His destiny. All evidence proves that
Joseph believed in the validity of all Jesus taught and
ultimately suffered for.
It is commonly taught that Jesus was poor and of obscure
relatives. His relationship with the affluent Joseph of Arimathea
proves otherwise. In His own right He was a property owner but
long before He took up His mission He forsook all material
It should be remembered that Jesus was a true lineal
descendant of the Shepherd King, David, and of Seth, son of Adam,
who was the son of God.
WHO MOVED THE STONE AT THE TOMB?
DENIED the power of the vote Caiaphas lost no time in
contacting Pilate, fully prepared to play his ace with the
pressure of blackmail if Pilate hesitated to institute the charge
of treason against Jesus. Under Roman law treason was a capital
offence which, if proven, was punishable by death. Only the Roman
Procurator could try such a case and only he could legally impose
the death penalty. This Caiaphas demanded and silence was his
The High Priest possessed positive knowledge that Pontius
Pilate had been an active party to a secret, futile plot to
assassinate Tiberius Caesar. Armed with this knowledge Caiaphas
imposed his will on the Procurator, who trembled with fear of
exposure, disgrace, and the threat to his life.
It is with certainty we can assume that Joseph pleaded with
Pilate not to interfere in a new trial of Jesus. Joseph was
unaware of the deadly secret Caiaphas held over the Spanish-born
Procurator. Neither his pleadings nor his influence could
prevail. Nor could the earnest supplication of Pilate's wife
avail, who, disturbed by the potency of a dream the night before,
begged of him to have nothing to do with the trial of 'that just
Pilate deferred to his wife. He owed his exalted position to
the social eminence his marriage had brought. His wife was
Claudia Procula, the illegitimate daughter of Claudia, the third
wife of Tiberius Caesar, and grand-daughter of Augustus Caesar.
Pilate knew that the Emperor, against whom he had plotted, was
very fond of his step-daughter and, being an astute politician,
Pontius Pilate deferred to her every whim. For him to deny
Claudia's urgent request is but to prove how serious Pilate
considered the hold Caiaphas had on him. At heart Pilate was not
in sympathy with the demands of the Sadducees. He found no
foundation to their charges. Four times Jesus was pronounced
innocent but Pilate, in his evasive gesture calling for a bowl of
water to signify he washed his hands of the whole matter, acceded
to the murderous demands of the Sanhedrin. Nevertheless, he
permitted the Roman guard to carry out the tragic act
historically known as 'The Scandal of the Cross'.
The dream that tortured Pilate's wife on the previous night
foretold disaster to him if he judged Jesus. The dream came true.
Later Pontius Pilate committed suicide.
From the beginning to the end the arrest and dual trial was
a vicious frame-up, a betrayal, a travesty of justice. From that
dark hour in the garden to the crucifixion, the plot was hurried
to its conclusion. It had to be. The murmurings of the people had
been growing louder, as evidenced at the final trial. Following
the fatal verdict the whole city seethed with fear and unrest.
Caiaphas and his fanatical collaborators had triumphed but the
Romans held the lash and would not hesitate to use it
unmercifully on the slightest provocation or interference. So
greatly did terror prevail throughout Jerusalem that all known to
have been associated with Jesus in even the slightest way fled
Nine of the twelve disciples had fled the city directly
after the arrest in the garden, leaving only three standing by.
Judas was no longer numbered among the faithful. Only Peter, John
and Nicodemus remained. Even though Peter had denied his Master
he, with the beloved disciple John, had followed Jesus into the
crowded court room of the Sanhedrin. There for the third time,
Peter denied association with his Lord. After the fatal
circumstances had arisen Peter, overwhelmed with self-torment and
ashamed of his denials, despondently went into seclusion within
the city. He did not witness the crucifixion. Of those present,
the Scriptures refer by name only to John and Mary, the mother of
Jesus, witnessing the tragedy at the foot of the cross, and the
three women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and
Salome who watched from a respectful distance.
Wonderment is often evinced at the omission of the Bethany
sisters, Martha and Mary, whom Jesus loved. The impression
gathered is that they were not present. This does not seem
conceivable. The name of Joseph is not mentioned but it seems
safe to say they were all present. The record says, 'all the
women who followed Him,' and 'others were mingled among the
crowd'. The speed with which Joseph called on Pilate after the
demise indicates that he was present. Pilate appears to be
surprised at hearing the swift news, asking those near him if it
were true Jesus was dead.
("But all those who were the acquaintance of Christ, stood at a
distance, as did the women who had followed Jesus from Galilee,
observing all these things:" - Nicodemus 8:11).
It is doubtful if the beloved John and the Blessed Mother
witnessed the expiration on the cross. We are told that after
Jesus committed His mother to the care of John, the disciple led
her away to spare her the last dark hours of suffering.
Probably the average Christian of today fails to realize the
extent of the physical and mental torture borne by the sensitive
Jesus through this agonizing period. From the hour of the Last
Supper to the time of His death, He had not touched food or
drink. He had been 'third degreed' from the moment He stood in
the torch-lit Sanhedrin, until after His trial before Pilate.
Then, following the heckling, the crowning of thorns, and the
reviling by His enemies who had placed the mocking sign on Him -
'King of the Jews'.
Following His condemnation to death He had been brutally
flogged by His Roman executioners, His back slashed to ribbons.
Even today it is conceded that the Roman flogging was the most
cruel ever to be inflicted on a human being. This we can well
believe as we scan the Roman records which attest to the fact
that only one out of ten ever survived the ghastly scourging.
His suffering was intensified when the reviling Roman
soldier pressed the bitter sponge of hyssop to His parched lips
when He called for water as He hung on the cross.
All this He endured apart from the terrible torment He
suffered as He slowly expired on the cross. Weighing all this as
we must, we are not left in doubt that Jesus was as physically
superb as He was mentally and spiritually.
According to both Jewish and Roman law, unless the body of
an executed criminal be immediately claimed by the next of kin
the body of the victim was cast into a common pit with others
where all physical record of them was completely obliterated.
Why did not Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the immediate next of
kin, claim the body of her beloved Son?
Perhaps John, fearing for the safety of Mary, restrained
her, leaving it to Joseph, the family guardian, to make the
request. We do know that Joseph was the one who personally went
to Pilate and obtained the Procurator's official sanction to
claim the body, remove it from the cross, and prepare it for
burial in his private sepulchre which was within the garden of
You will likely agree that this was in order. But consider
A reign of terror continued to prevail within the city of
Jerusalem. No follower of Christ was safe from the evil
machinations of the Sanhedrin, who were then enjoying a Roman
holiday in the persecution of the followers of 'The Way'. As
already stated, all but two of the disciples had fled the city
and gone into safe seclusion in fear of their lives. However, as
we shall see, there was yet another, Nicodemus, who had not fled
the city. But Joseph, the Roman senator, and the legislative
member of the Sanhedrin, also a disciple, was the only close
associate of Christ who dared to walk openly on the street
without fear of molestation. Was he too powerful and prominent
for either side to harm? Yet Joseph knew he was dealing with
dynamite, and from the circumstances that followed it appears
that Joseph did fear interference, not personally, but in his
Actually, why did he go to Pontius Pilate ?
Why did he not claim the body in the ordinary way, according
Certainly, it was not a common occurrence to seek permission
from the highest authority in the land in order to obtain the
body of an executed criminal.
Why had he not sought permission from the Sanhedrin? They
were inflexible in their rule that a body must be claimed and
buried before sunset. Actually, under normal circumstances there
was no need to go further than the Sanhedrin. Jesus was regarded
as a Jew. Joseph was a Jew and a high ranking member of the
Jewish Sanhedrin. There was only one reason why Joseph preferred
to make the claim for the body to Pilate. He knew that the
fanatical Sadducean Priesthood sought the total extinction of
Jesus, even in death.
Annas and Caiaphas had succeeded in their diabolical,
murderous scheme by having Jesus crucified as a common criminal.
Does it not stand to reason that they would seek to carry out the
ignominy to its fullest extent?
Would they not have preferred that the body of Jesus be
disposed of in the common criminal pit so that His extinction
would be total and all memory steeped in shame?
Certainly, it would have been Sanhedrin.
To have Jesus decently interred within a respectably known
sepulchre was but to erect a martyr's tomb for the multitude to
flock to in an ageless pilgrimage. That would have doomed the
Sanhedrin more surely than anything else. Therefore, reason would
indicate that the High Priesthood were bent on interfering with
the claim of the kin of the crucified Christ. With Mary, the
Sanhedrin could interfere, but not with Joseph. He did not fear
them and was to the best interest of the determined to thwart
them in their designs. The Scripture says he went 'boldly' before
Pilate and successfully asserted the kin rights of his niece.
(I also show in this section under my "The New Testament Bible
Story" that there was much going on during Jesus' hanging on the
cross and His death and what took place. The Jewish authorities
and Sanhedrin were in total shock at the darkness and the tearing
of the Temple curtain dividing the Holy Place from the Most Holy
Place. There would have been complete confusion as well as fear,
and the Jewish authorities could have cared less about the body
of Jesus on that cross; they were too busy in their confusion and
fear. I also show it was not till evening (the earliest being 6
pm) that Joseph came to Pilate. The body of Jesus was not taken
off the cross and put in the tomb until the first few hours of
the first holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the 15th of
the first month. Hence Jesus was raised three days and three
nights later, the first hours of what we today call Saturday
evening - in God's day reckoning the first day of the week. This
fulfilled the wave-sheaf cutting of the Sadducees during the
first few hours AFTER the weekly Sabbath, or Saturday evening,
during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, to be presented in the
Temple Sunday morning. This is all fully explained as I went
through this section of the Gospels in my "New Testament Bible
Story" - on this website - Keith Hunt)
Between Caiaphas and Pilate there still existed an armed
truce, but the latter played a skilful game. He played both sides
to his own advantage. Pilate had already satisfied the Sanhedrin.
No matter how they opposed him thereafter, at the moment they
could not deny him the right of fulfilling this particular part
of the law to which both the Jew and the Roman subscribed in the
disposal of the body. Pilate needed Joseph's friendship and there
was no easier way of securing it than by recognizing Joseph's
claim to the murdered body of his favourite nephew.
By this act of interference, Joseph became a doubly marked
man by the High Priesthood of Jewry.
Returning from his mission with Pilate, Joseph's acts are
again shown to be hurried as though fearing interception. He
returned to the scene of the tragedy followed by Nicodemus, who
carried one hundred pounds of mixed spices with which to prepare
the body, prior to burial. Premature darkness had set in
following the phenomenal storm that broke loose upon the land as
Jesus expired on the cross, rending in twain the curtain in the
temple and scattering the spectators abroad. Only two remained,
Mary Magdalene, and the wife of Cleophas, sister of the Blessed
Mary. They watched as Joseph, with the help of Nicodemus, lowered
the body from the cross, laid it on the ground and wrapped the
mortal remains of Jesus in the burial linen which Joseph had
personally provided. It was dark and time appeared precious.
Again we are impressed with the evidence of hurriedness. Without
any further preparation they carried the body to the sepulchre in
the garden of Joseph and laid it within the tomb, while the two
women who had followed, watched nearby.
Joseph and Nicodemus had too little time properly to anoint
the body and dress it according to the custom in the linen
(This is not correct at all from the Gospels; they did take the
time to correctly, in the Jewish manner, use the 100 pounds of
aloe and wrap the body of Jesus. All fully exolained in this
Gospel section in my "New Testament Bible Story" - Keith Hunt)
Yet the surprising thing is that they sealed the entrance to
the tomb with a 'great' stone.
Why? Did Joseph have other intentions?
Common sense alone tells us that Joseph would not have
allowed the body of his beloved nephew to remain in the ghastly
state it was when lowered from the cross, bloody, sweaty, grimy
Then what happened in between the few dark hours from the
time the sealing stone was rolled to close the entrance to the
tomb, and early dawn on the third day, when the second great
drama took place - the disappearance of the body of Jesus from
the sepulchre? We Christians accept without any reservations the
Biblical version of the disappearance, but it should be
remembered that in those days there was no Biblical version to go
by, and Jesus was but barely known outside His native land. Not
then was He the accepted Messiah; therefore, as we keep this in
mind, we can better understand the impact, pro and con, this
startling incident created among the populace, friend and foe.
The discovery was made on the sabbath dawn (the writer was
obviously person who took Sunday as the Sabbath, which it never
was nor it - Keith Hunt) when Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of
James, and Salome appeared on the scene at the break of day,
bringing with them spices with which to clean and anoint the body
of Christ. Their intentions are evident. They knew the body had
been hastily interred without the proper burial preparation. The
two Marys had been witness to this. They had watched Joseph and
Nicodemus take the body from the cross and hurriedly wrap it in
the linens at the foot of the cross. They had followed the two
men into the garden of Joseph, standing nearby, as the body was
placed on the ledge within the tomb, and witnessed the sealing of
the entrance to the tomb with the 'great' stone.
(The Mary's were coming that Sunday morning had nothing to do
with "correcting" something done in a hurry three days before -
the writer is reading his own ideas into the text - Keith Hunt)
They were not likely to anoint the body twice within a few
hours. On approaching the tomb, the scriptural record tells us
that the first experience of the three women was one of shock.
They saw that the great stone was completely removed from the
entrance. This shock was followed by another as the drama
unfolded. To their astonishment they saw a young man dressed in
white, seated in an unconcerned manner on the very ledge within
the tomb on which the body of Christ had been laid.
From a study of the Marcan Manuscript, which relates the
story with vivid realism, all evidence tends to prove that this
particular young man was a complete stranger to the women and his
attitude towards them was calm and unperturbed. He did not rush
out to meet them excitedly. Before they had time to speak he told
them Jesus was not there. The body was gone. They must go to
Galilee, where they would meet Him. He told the stunned women the
facts in the simple manner of one relating an incident he
believed they should have known. But they did not know. Neither
did they know the stranger within the tomb. All they were
conscious of was that the body of their Lord was gone. Without
questioning the stranger, the frightened women hastened back to
the city, with Mary Magdalene, the youngest and most active of
the three women, hurrying in advance to inform Peter and John of
the startling news.
(This is far from what really happened that Sunday morning. See
my "New Testament Bible Story" for the rest of the story as the
late Paul Harvey would have said - Keith Hunt)
Evidently the two disciples were just as ignorant and
bewildered over the disappearance of the body, if not doubtful.
We find them hastening to the tomb and, on arriving,
investigating the interior. On entering the sepulchre John
stooped to pick up the discarded linen that lay collapsed, but
intact, supported only by the spices.
But where was the young stranger in white?
He was not there for the two disciples to interrogate.
Who was he? What was he doing there? Where had he gone? What
did he know? Why was he never found?
History would give a great deal to know the answers to these
puzzling questions. The records are silent.
(The truth is in the Gospels - angels were present when the women
arrived - just that simple - Keith Hunt)
Following the entombment the Sadducees, suspicious of the
disciples, determined to prevent any possible tampering with the
body. They requested Pilate to post a guard over the tomb,
reminding him that Jesus had claimed that on the third day He
would rise from the dead. They did not believe this and instead,
considered it a ruse of the disciples to steal the body. Pilate
flatly refused. He had already washed his hands of the matter and
told them to arrange their own guard, which they did.
In this case where was the guard?
The tomb was unguarded when the three women had arnved. Why
had the guard left so early, and where was the change of guards?
Surely, the Sanhedrin, who had assumed full responsibility for
posting the guard, would have taken every possible precaution. It
was in their best interest to do so. To do otherwise was to
invite the roused anger of the populace and of Pilate. They dare
not have placed themselves in such an uncompromising position.
We can well believe that the Sadducees had nothing to do with the
disappearance of the body. If they had caused the body to be
removed they would never have unwrapped it, leaving the linen
there. Neither would they have left the entrance to the tomb
open. In their position there was no need for haste. The guard
was theirs Certainly, they would have concealed their crime by
replacing the stone at the entrance, giving orders to the guard
forbidding anyone entry.
Again, everything points to haste.
(No, the writer is in haste, to make it sound like all was in
haste at the beginning of the three days and three night Jesus
was to be in the tomb and then reusrrected - Keith Hunt)
Much has been said, pro and con, in reference to the story
of the guards, with the general assumption being that it was not
true, but a whitewashed alibi of the Sanhedrin. Common opinion is
that, even if the guard had fallen asleep at their post, a stone
so large and heavy that sealed the tomb could never have been
moved away without awakening them. If they had fallen asleep at
their post of duty they would have been punished by death, as was
the military custom of that time. In this, general opinion errs.
It is generally assumed that the guard had to be Roman. If it
were true the Roman penalty for dereliction of duty would
undoubtedly have been imposed. But the guard belonged to the
priestly Sanhedrin, whose discipline did not include the death
The story given by the priests's guards is most probable.
They admitted they had fallen asleep and, on awakening, were
surprised to see that the huge stone had been rolled away. On
further investigation they saw that the tomb was empty and
straight away hurried to the Sanhedrin with the news. Caiaphas
bribed them, giving them money so say that the disciples had
stolen the body and to leave it to him to convince Pilate that
such was the case. Nevertheless, they were deeply concerned over
the disappearance and the Jewish record informs us that Caiaphas
ordered Joseph to appear before the Sanhedrin for questioning.
Another stormy scene occurred before the Assembly. Caiaphas
openly accused Joseph of being the prime instigator of the plot
and demanded to know where the body reposed. To all their
questioning Joseph maintained a stony silence. He refused to
talk, defiant in the knowledge that he was beyond their power to
Why did they not interrogate Mary, the mother of Jesus, or
Peter, John, or Nicodemus, whom the Sanhedrin knew were the only
associates of Christ present in the city at that time? Why were
the other women not questioned? Perhaps the Sanhedrin considered
such simple people as they incapable of carrying out such a
delicate operation. Perhaps the genuine agitation of the
disciples, and of the women concerning the mystery, was enough to
satisfy the priesthood that they had no knowledge of what had
The difference between the members of the Sanhedrin and the
disciples was - the Jewish priests insisted that the body of
Jesus was stolen and secretly buried by Joseph or the disciples.
The latter believed Christ had risen according to His word, on
the third day, to be the first-fruits of all who slept.
Therefore, it matters not who moved the stone at the tomb.
(Common sense tells us it was divine power that moved the stone,
and Matthew tells us it was an angel - not for Jesus to exit but
for the disciples that Sunday morning to see Jesus was no longer
in the tomb but was reusrrected just as Jesus Himself had said -
Sorrow turned into triumph and an unquenchable zeal to
preach the Gospel to all the world. Joseph of Arimathea, the
uncle of Jesus, was no longer guardian over His corporeal
existence but over a greater treasure - Christ's sacred mission
on earth. Henceforth he was to be the guardian of all the beloved
against the arch-enemy, and ultimately their leader. He began to
dedicate himself to his amazing destiny, which later was to make
it possible for Peter and Paul to accomplish their great work in
the service of the Lord. Joseph himself was to plant the roots of
Christianity in fertile soil where it would flourish and never
perish from off the earth.
THE SAULIAN GESTAPO AND THE EXODUS A.D. 36
FOLLOWING the disappearance of the body and the Ascension of
Christ, an evil, brooding passion for vengeance seized upon the
ruling priesthood of the Sanhedrin. In secret conclave they
plotted and planned a campaign of unremitting persecution against
the followers of 'The Way'. Maliciously, they determined to
exterminate all who failed to escape their bloody hands.
There is no greater hatred than in a divided house, or brother
against brother. In the main, the victims of the Sanhedrin were
of their own race. The hatred they bore for the followers of 'The
Way' was far greater than the implacable hatred that had divided
the kingdom of Israel before the captivity. At that time, the Ten
Tribes under Ephraim had drawn north into Samaria, while the two
tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with a few Levites, remained at
Jerusalem. A wall of bitterness existed between them that was
never removed. After each regained their freedom, the Ephraimites
commenced their long march beyond the Euphrates, disappearing
from scriptural history, to become known by other names.
Now, it was more than a bitterness. It was a blind, cruel,
unreasonable, black hatred.
The 'Gestapo' the Sanhedrin formed was specially organized
under the appointed leadership of the vengeful Saul. He wasted no
time. He struck quickly and viciously. Followers of 'The Way'
found in Jerusalem, be they Greek, Roman or Jew, were openly, or
in secret alike struck down. No mercy was shown. The records of
that time state the prisons were overcrowded with their victims.
The first notable victim Saul seized upon was the man whom he
considered to be his inveterate foe, Stephen, the courageous
leader of the Liberal Party who led the brilliant defence of
Jesus on that fateful night in the court of the Sanhedrin. Along
with Peter, John and others, Stephen had taken up the sceptre,
defying the Sadducees by victoriously preaching the Word
throughout the holy city. Thousands were daily converted and
later, according to St. Luke, reached the spectacular number of
three to five thousand daily. This testimony dissipates the idea
that the Jews were unresponsive to the magic appeal of 'The Way'.
The Jews were the first converts, a fact which further infuriated
the corrupt Sadducean Priesthood.
Fate caught up quickly with Stephen. The Jewish minions of
the Sanhedrin stoned him to death in the manner peculiar to the
Jews, as Saul looked on. He perished by the gate that still bears
his name. St. Stephen was the first martyr for Christ, A.D. 33.
(Wrong year - it was AD 30 - Jesus died in 30 AD as a study on
this website proved in-depth, and as many other "scholars" have
also said it was 30 AD. - Keith Hunt)
So fierce was Saul's vindictive purge that he wrought havoc
within the Church at Jerusalem. The boundaries of Judea could not
confine him. Illegally, he trespassed far within Roman territory
where he hounded the devotees without censure or interference
from Roman administration. No doubt the Romans felt Saul was
doing them a service, and a good job in ridding them of what they
considered an undesirable religious pestilence.
Throughout this reign of terror Joseph remained the
stalwart, fearless protector of the disciples and of the women.
On every possible occasion he stood between them and their
enemies, a veritable tower of strength. Saul's fury knew no
bounds. Strive and scheme as they may, Joseph's position as an
influential Roman official defied the Saulian Gestapo from
molesting his person, or those whom he defended. Nevertheless, it
became a losing battle. Within four years after the death of
Christ, A.D. 36, (33/34 is more correct - Keith Hunt) many of the
devotees were scattered out of Jerusalem and Judea. There is
little doubt that the ships of Joseph, co-ordinating with the
Christian underworld, carried numerous of the faithful in safety
to other lands. He spared neither his help nor his wealth in
aiding all whom he could.
Calloused as the Romans were with their own specific brand
of brutality, even they were shocked by the ferocious atrocities
of the Sanhedrin Gestapo. Out of this evil sprung the cause of
their own ultimate doom. Later the Romans turned into a two-edged
sword, becoming the rabid persecutors and executioners of both
Jew and Christian. Saul was to meet a cruel death at their hands.
For the Judean Jews the culminating catastrophe occurred in the
year A.D. 70, when Titus, son of the Roman Emperor, Vespasian,
massacred them at Jerusalem and put the ancient city to torch,
levelling it to ashes, as Jesus had foretold. (Well... not quite,
the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem today was part of the outer wall of
the Temple, so levelling to ashes has become an incorrect way to
describe Titus' destruction of the Jews and Jerusalem in 70 AD. -
Those who escaped were scattered to the four corners of the
world, despised and hated, forced to live in ghettoes, and never
to return to Judea. The Christian persecution was to continue for
centuries in an increasing, diabolic form. Tiberius proclaimed an
edict, making it a capital offence to be a Christian. Claudius
and other Roman Emperors repeated the edict. The Romans, noting
with alarm the rise of Christianity, began to consider Christians
a menace to their empiric safety; therefore a class of people to
be exterminated. History proves with a mass of bloodstained
evidence, how they strove their level best to crush the
evangelistic movement. It was like striving to push back the
waves of the sea with the palms of their hands. It was not to be.
As prophecy proclaimed, and history has fulfilled, the cross
was to triumph over the sword.
According to Acts 8:1-4, the Church of Jerusalem was
scattered abroad. Even the Apostles were forced later to flee.
This was the year of the epochal exile when the curtain descended
darkly upon the lives and doings of so many of that illustrious
band. Modem Christians are chiefly familiar with the New
Testament record of the favoured few - Peter, Paul, Matthew,
Mark, Luke and John, with passing reference to but a few others.
What became of the rest of the original twelve Apostles, the
seventy whom Christ first elected, then what of the later one
hundred and twenty? They are the lost disciples on whom the
scriptural record is as silent as the grave, particularly the two
most outstanding characters, Joseph of Arimathea, and Mary, the
mother of Jesus. The sacred pages close upon them in that fateful
year leaving not a trace or a shadow of their mysterious passage
into permanent exile.
Ponder the facts. Christ's mission lasted but three years.
Four years later the Elect had fled into exile. The great crusade
was ended in but six years. True, some disciples laboured later
there in Judea, but the effects were transitory. Roman rule
tightened down, with a mailed fist on both Jew and Christian.
Within thirty-five years the holy city was to be a rubble of
ruins and thereafter largely occupied by the heathen and
unbelievers. Christianity had its birth in Christ in the Holy
Land, but not its growth that flourished to convert the world.
This sprang to its full glory in another land. How could this
happen? You may search the Scriptures in vain for record of
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ever being near this distant
country. The journeys of Peter and Paul as described in the Bible
do not seem to give any clue. Then who performed this monumental
Christian evangelistic work?
Jesus Himself provides the answer as He denounces the
Sadducean Jews, telling them that the glory shall be taken away
from them and given to another. Again, when He says He came not
to the Jews, but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. He
knew He would not convert the Sanhedrin and its following, so it
had to be others - the lost sheep. Who were they? The answer lies
in His commission to Paul, the converted Saul, whom he commands
to go to the Gentiles. To what Gentiles did Paul go apart from
the Romans? Or did Paul commission others of the illustrious band
as missionaries? The answer has to be somewhere. The Romans did
not Christianize the world. They were the greatest enemies of the
Christian Gospel for over three hundred years after the death of
Christ. Who crushed this Roman opposition that made Rome
Many are the intriguing questions that can be asked, all of
which would seem to deepen the mystery that revolves around those
who can be truly called the "Lost Disciples." We find the answers
by studying ancient writings, the old martyrologies and
menologies, the age-old parchments that have reposed in great
libraries for many centuries, filed away, and for almost as many
centuries, completely forgotten. These, and the works of eminent
scholars who have explored the great scrolls, and deciphered the
contents, reveal the astonishing facts. That is the object of
this work, which at best can only quote briefly from the mass of
data available. Where scriptural history ends secular history
begins and in using the word 'history', we find greater faith and
strength in understanding the original meaning of the word. As
one great writer stated, 'There are Sermons in Stones'. Equally
so, there is revelation in words.
The Bible was God's Book of history, the Word of God. In the
Old Testament, history is given to us in prophecy, and in the New
Testament demonstrated in fulfilment. Therefore, viewed in this
light, the true explanation of the word 'history,' as we employ
the word is: 'Prophecy is history [His-Story] foretold, and
history is prophecy fulfilled.' Fulfilment of His story began in
the advent of Christ and will continue until the whole world
accepts Him. Even we Christians have yet much to learn, but Jesus
said it would become known unto us all as we are ready to
All those who are inclined to consider the Gospel of Christ
a mystical, intangible or incredible story founded on myth and
superstition with no substance to His existence, will find solid
evidence in tracing the footsteps of the Lost Disciples from the
exodus of A.D. 36, when they passed out of Biblical history into
secular history, particularly the events concerning Joseph of
Arimathea. While there are many learned minds dating from the era
of Christ onward who provide the same record, there is a special
advantage in quoting a more modem authority with the eminent
ecclesiastical background of Cardinal Baronius, who is considered
the most outstanding historian of the Roman Catholic Church. He
was Curator of the famous Vatican library, a man of learning, and
a reliable, facile writer. Quoting from his Ecclesiastical Annals
referring to the exodus of the year A.D. 36, the mystery is
solved as to the fate of Joseph of Arimathea and others who went
into exile with him. He writes:
In that year the party mentioned was exposed to the sea in a
vessel without sails or oars. The vessel drifted finally to
Marseilles and they were saved. From Marseilles Joseph and
his company passed into Britain and after preaching the
Gospel there, died.
No doubt, this event in British history will come as a
surprise to many Christians, but there is a mass of corroborative
evidence to support this historic passage by many reliable Greek
and Roman authorities, including affirmation in the Jewish
Encyclopaedia, under 'Arles'.
The studious pronouncement made by Cardinal Baronius,
derived from delving into the treasured archives of the Vatican
at Rome, has proved to be as incontrovertible as it is revealing.
To my mind, the Vatican would be the first to repudiate any
testimony from their archives to support the priority claim of
Christian Britain, if it were untrue.
The interesting part of the Baronius report is that the date
coincides with that given in the Acts of the Apostles.
The expulsion of Joseph and his companions in an oarless
boat without sails would be in keeping with the malicious design
of the Sanhedrin. They dared not openly destroy him and, instead,
conceived an ulterior method hoping their ingenious treachery
would eventually consign Joseph and his companions to a watery
grave. Little did they realize that, by this subtle act in
ridding themselves of the outstanding champion of Christ, their
very hope for destruction would be circumvented by an act of
providence. Their perfidy made it possible for the forgotten
Fathers of Christianity to congregate in a new land where they
would be free of molestation.
The Saulian Gestapo had failed dismally and for the last
time. It began to collapse completely when vengeful Saul, on the
road to Damascus, was stricken blind. The incredible happened.
Saul heard the voice of Christ speak to him and had his sight
restored. He was converted to the faith of 'The Way'. The news
stunned the Sanhedrin, infuriating them beyond measure.
Immediately, they ordered an all-out drive to seize Saul and
kill him on sight, a reversal of circumstances. The hunter was
hunted. He went into hiding appealing for aid from Christ's
disciples. Their reluctance to save him is understandable. They
were filled with suspicion as much as with surprise. Finally they
complied, lowering him over the wall of the city with a rope,
making his escape in the company of the disciples. From then on
he became famous as Paul. The rest is well known. He took up the
cross with his great commission as given to him by His Redeemer,
Christ, and with all his heart. Finally he gave his all to his
Master, in martyrdom, leaving behind an unblemished record which
marked him as St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles.
SO WE WILL START THE EXCITING HISTORY RECORDS THAT
REVEAL THE TRAVEL OF JOSEPH AND OTHERS TO THE LAND OF
BRITAIN - THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE SO-CALLED LOST TEN
TRIBES OF ISRAEL, WHICH WERE NEVER LOST TO GOD. THEY
HAD BEEN BROUGHT THROUGH EUROPE AND WOULD BE THE MAIN
NATIONS OF MODERN EUROPE, TO FULL-FILL, TO FILL TO THE
BRIM THE CUP OF END TIME PROPHECY, AND TO BE THE
PEOPLE WHO WOULD GIVE THE BIBLE (OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS) TO