Be aware of what other martyrs for Christ suffered:
"…the martyrdoms…they were so torn with scourges, that the frame of their bodies, even to the very inward veins and arteries, was laid open, still patiently endured, while even those that stood by pitied and bewailed them.
…not one of them let a sigh or groan escape them; thus proving to us all that those Holy Martyrs of Christ, at the very time when they suffered such torments, were absent from the body, or rather, that the LORD then stood by them, and communed with them."
"…in like manner, those who were condemned to the wild beasts endured dreadful tortures, being stretched out upon beds full of spikes, and subjected to various other kinds of torments, in order that, if it were possible, the Tyrant might, by their lingering tortures, lead them to a denial [of Jesus Christ]." (Epistle of the Church of Smyrna, Concerning Polycarp's Martyrdom. .2)
Commentary on .2:
Notice that the one who tortures the Christians is called a 'Tyrant.' This word is also used in describing the one who persecuted John the Apostle, son of Zebedee, and of Christ's inner circle of His three closest Disciples. The word Tyrant relates specifically to a "Proconsul", (a Procrurator or Governor of a Territory or Region) as we shall see in the next quote; and NOT to a Roman Emperor, as some would fabricate a myth to replace an actual time consuming reconstruction of actual history. This is important in regards to dating the New Testament book of Revelation, and of John's exile to Patmos...and exactly "when" that could have been or was.
The tradition that was retold of John's conduct in the province of Asia by Clement of Alexandria in circa 190 A.D., who, in "The Rich Man who Finds Salvation", mentions the death of a "Tyrant". If we pay attention to what is being said in the Tradition repeated and retold by Clement over a century after the events, we will easily see within the history told as a story, the span of many many years passing. There is probably somewhere between 18 and 20 years from the time that John, some unknown number of years after arriving in Asia, entrusts a boy to a Bishop's care and the time he asks for the man (who should be rabbinically ready, or over age 30) back. Thus, the Tradition told as a story could start in 53 A.D., pick up in 62 A.D., and then skip ahead to 80 A.D., for example, and still be entirely accurate and consistent.
In regard to the use of Tyrant as meaning Domitian Caesar: when we see that both "tyrants" must be "Proconsuls of Asia" and not Roman Emperors, the perception of what the early historians are telling us is transformed from that of coke-bottle glasses to a simple pane of clear (although somewhat tinted) glass. We see, albeit, a little darkly, but clearly and not all out of context and distorted.
"For the Devil did indeed invent many things against them; but thanks be to GOD, he could not prevail over all. For the most noble Germanicus strengthened the timidity of others by his own patience, and fought heroically (and illustriously) with the wild beasts. For when the Proconsul sought to persuade him, and said to him to take pity on his age, he attracted the wild beast towards himself, and provoked it, being desirous to escape all the more quickly from an unrighteous and impious world. But upon this, the whole multitude, marveling at the nobleness of the GOD-loving and GOD-fearing race of Christians, cried out,
'Away with the Atheists! Let Polycarp be sought out!' "
Commentary on .3:
In the previous chapter of this very same Epistle, in .2, there is no doubt that the one whom is inflicting tortures and punishments on the Christians in Asia is called 'the Tyrant'. In the very next chapter of the same Epistle, we read in a superfluous manner how that this 'Tyrant' is identified as a 'Proconsul'. To us, a Proconsul is a Military Governor who holds the powers of continual martial law over his Province. He is subject to his Senator, and to his Emperor; and no one else. As long he quells rebellion and unrest, and keeps the tax monies flowing to Rome, how he runs his Province within the laws given him by Rome… well, often that is his own business. The Proconsul could be benevolent, or osmotic in his approach: as dictatorial - demanding - thrusting the law down like a hammer.
The Proconsul of Asia was perhaps more vicious in his ambition towards the people than Pilate was some 125 years earlier in Judea of Israel. Asia was home to the largest Olympic Games outside of Greece, where in the off years the gods of Greece and Rome could be worshipped by sporting events. Asia was also the province of all the Empire that was selected for Emperor worship, where busts of living and dead Emperors of Rome were daily worshipped by a living priesthood. The idea was that they took their place among the gods of Rome, Jupiter and the others, and brought good demons and prosperity to that province. So superstitiously, anyone not believing their brand of theism or god worship, was without god worship or a-theist. Thus, the alpha-privitive -- the "a" before "theos" turns this positive into a negative, from 'god' to 'not god' or 'against god'. In the mind of the Proconsul, or the 'tyrant', he was fulfilling his duties zealously as a good administrator who had potential to one day be Senator over many of his contemporaries by zealously enforcing Roman Law and appeasing the lawlessly inclined among his masses towards peace by giving them sacrifices of innocents in exchange for docility.
"The Irenarch then, (whose office is the same as that of the Cleronamus), by name Herod, hastened to bring him [Polycarp] to the Stadium."
"His pursuers then, along with the horsemen… went forth at supper-time on the Day of Preparation, with their usual weapons, as if going out against a robber. And being come about evening, they found him [Polycarp] lying down in the upper room in a certain person's little house … he went down and spoke with them. And as those that were present marveled at his age and constancy, some of them said, '(Why) was so much effort made to capture such a venerable man?' "
OUTSIDE THE STADIUM
[Herod the Proconsul, and his father, Nicetes, have just transported Polycarp from the outskirts of the city of Smyrna to the Stadium. The two plead with Polycarp, hoping to avoid a mob trial in which just the roar of disrespect might seem to be enough to make this ancient one drop dead on the spot. Rather than face such a scandal of frightening a weak and very ancient old man to death, Herod resolves that Polycarp should meet with an accidental death…]
"…having no hope of persuading (Polycarp), began to speak bitter words unto him, and cast him with violence (down) out of the chariot, inasmuch that, in getting down from the carriage, he dislocated his leg. But without being disturbed, and as if suffering nothing, he went eagerly forward with all haste, and was conducted to the Stadium, where the tumult was so great, that there was no possibility of being heard."
IN THE STADIUM
"And as he was brought forward, the tumult became great when they heard that Polycarp had been taken. And when he came near, the Proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was … [the Proconsul continued], saying, 'Have respect to your Old Age,' and other similar things, (and as) according to their custom:
'Swear by the fortune of Caesar', 'Repent', and 'Say, Away with the Atheists!' But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the Stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to Heaven, said, 'Away with the Atheists.'
Then, the Proconsul urging him, and saying,
'Swear, and I will set you at liberty.' 'Reproach Christ.'
'86 years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?'
"…the Proconsul was astonished, and sent his herald to proclaim in the midst of the Stadium thrice,
'Polycarp has confessed that he is a Christian.'
['Polycarp has confessed that he is a Chrestian.'
'Polycarp has confessed that he is a Chrestian.']
This proclamation, having been made by the herald, the whole multitude -- both of the heathen and Jews -- who dwelt at Smyrna, cried out with an uncontrollable fury, and in a loud voice, [gnashing the teeth words to this effect]:
'This is the teacher of Asia,
the father of the Christians,
and the over-thrower of our gods,
he who has been teaching many not to sacrifice,
or to worship the gods.' "
Please take notice of the accusations of the unruly mob toward Polycarp, those who are hostile witnesses (as it were) against him. He is called the "teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians." This tells us that after John the Apostle was martyred in or about the fall of 97 A.D. to no nlater than Passover of 98 A.D., the mantle fell to Polycarp, even as the mantle fell from Elijah to Elisha.
To be called the "teacher of Asia" in rabbinical reference, is to be called "the Rabbi of Asia", or "the Chief Rabbi of Asia." This tells us that Polycarp is more than "just a disciple of John", he is the very successor to the Apostle John as the elder of the Church as well. It is for this reason that Polycarp held such a prominence within the early Church from the Apostle John's death in ca. A.D. 97 or 98 to his own death some 60 years later. In fact, the historical record indicates that it was to Polycarp, not Rome, that the Church of the early second century sought consul and embassy to so as to learn the doctrines of the Apostles from those who had seen and been with them first hand. And we learn twice from Irenaeus, that the apostles were literally (not just figuratively) Levites and Kohenim to the LORD. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4.8.3. and 5.34.3.)
Therefore, Polycarp was not hated so much for his Jewishness, but for his fidelity and devotion to GOD, as if bringing the Temple worship of GOD to the nations. He behaved more like the high priest who KEPT that deposit entrusted him.
“The priests indeed are good, but the High Priest is better: to whom, the Holy of Holies has been committed, and who alone has been entrusted with the secrets of GOD.”
(Ignatius, Letter to the Philadelphians, .9)
In the Babylonian Talmud, the rabbinic authorities would later put it this way: 'When you come to a town, follow its customs, for when Moses went up to Heaven, he refrained from food for 40 days and 40 nights. And when the angels came down to visit Abraham, they partook of his meal, each one submitting to the custom of the place." (Baba Metzia 86b).
And in Soferim 14:18, it is taught that should Jewish Law or Ritual conflict with the local custom, often the local custom is the one to prevail.
So, in effect, Polycarp was enforcing a conviction of the hearts of those in this Province of the Gentiles to choose from accepting the GOD of Israel, or being brought to an Anti-Semitic fervor and persecuting frenzy. In other words, the unbelieving Jewish community of the Diaspora was receiving a lot of collateral damage and backlash from those who trades and incomes depended on the industry and superstitions of idol worship, to which they also were probably assimilated in the trafficking of, as well.
"The multitudes immediately gathering together wood and fagots out of the shops and baths; the Jews especially, according to Custom, eagerly assisting them in it. And when the funeral pile was ready, Polycarp, laying aside all his garments...when they were about to fix him with nails, he said, 'Leave me as I am; for he that giveth me strength to endure the fire, will also enable me, without your securing me by nails, to remain without moving in the pile.'" Ibid., .13
"And as the flame blazed forth in great fury...the fire, shaping itself into the form of an arch, like the sail of a ship when filled with the wind, encompassed as by a circle the body of the martyr." Ibid., .15
"At length, when those wicked men perceived that his body could not be consumned by the fire, they commanded an executioner to go near and pierce him through as with a dagger. ...and a great quantity of blood poured forth from the left side, so that the fire was extinguished; and all the people wondered...." Ibid., 16
Welcome! Jesus Christ is my LORD and Savior! Romans 10:9-10,13; John 3:16
I am a Natural Born United States Citizen with NO allegiance or citizenship to any nation but my own, and will use this site as a hobby place of sorts to present my own political and religious viewpoints, as a genuine Constitutional Conservative and a genuine Christian Conservative.
Thank you for coming.
In the Year of our LORD Jesus Christ 2019
-- As of January 20, 2017
A Sigh Of Relief With The Inauguration Of Donald John Trump as President of the United States of America, And Hope For A Prosperous Future For All United States Citizens (we who are a nation called "the melting pot of the world"). We shall be great and exceptionally great again.
It is likely that the entries to this blog will be less frequent than in years past. I do intend to keep this blog active, and to offer insightful information and/or opinion (and sometimes humor and/or entertainment on occasion) when I do post.
Peace and Liberty. Semper Fidelis.