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The Kingdom of Christ

September 5, 2011

Eusebius, the historian of the early church, gives an interesting account which he received from Hegesippus of when the grandsons of Jude appeared before the Roman emperor Domitian.  The first part of the quote below is considered to be the words of Hegesippus and the latter Eusebius’s paraphrase of the account.

 “‘For Domitian feared the coming of Christ as Herod also had feared it.  And he asked them if they were descendants of David, and they canfessed that they were.  The he asked them how much property they had, or how much money they owned.  And both of them answered that they had only nine thousand denarii, half of which belonged to each of them; and this property did not consist of silver, but of a piece of land which contained only thirty-nine acres, and from which they raised their taxes and supported themselves by their labor.’  Then they showed their hands, exhibiting the hardness of their bodies and the callousness produced upon their hands by continuous toil as evidence of their own labor.  And when they were asked concerning Christ and his kingdom, of what sort it was and where and when it was to appear, they answered that it was not a temporal nor an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly and angelic one, which would appear at the end of the world, when he should come in glory to judge the quick and the dead, and to give unto every one according to his works.  Upon hearing this, Domitian did not pass judgment against them, but, despising them as of no account, he let them go, and by a decree put a stop to the persecution of the Church.”

– Eusebius, Church History, Book III, Chapter XX.

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