Before returning to question number two of the three questions, I will recount the little known story of the disciples taking the Gospel to the world between AD 30 and AD 70. It started with Stephen’s martyrdom in Yerushalem.
Three and one half years after Yahshua’s rapture to Heaven, this young disciple was dragged out of the city and stoned. The new Church became severely persecuted. Medieval tradition tells us that Joseph of Arimathea, Mary the mother of Yahshua, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Lazarus, Mary the wife of one Cleopas, Salome, and several others were cast adrift in a boat in the Mediterranean. The boat eventually came to rest on the shores of France, at Marseilles. We know from similar sources that the apostle Philip was centred here.
These annals of history have Joseph and his party of castaways travelling on to Britain where they preached the Gospel. Through these efforts, Britain was the first nation to accept Christianity as their religion and call themselves Christian after Christ. It is apparently a misconception that Augustine, sent from Rome to Britain in the sixth century, converted that nation. Britain had, in fact, been Christian for 500 years by then!
Israel and Judah in Palestine are said to have had colonies in the British Isles and investments in the tin mines of Cornwall (EZE. 27:12) in their heyday. So some of the people over there were Israelites. As these Britons were establishing a new spiritual kingdom in their isles, other persecuted and cast off Christians were also taking the message out. And it was still the true religion of YHWH, with His laws and salvation, not the watered-down-mixed-with-paganism-version we hear today. The Gospel was preached to the Jews of Yudaea for three and a half years after Yahshua’s death and resurrection (DAN. 9:27). When finally it was rejected and their time officially run out, His followers went and preached to EVERY nation. They turned the world upside down (ACTS 17:6) preaching to every creature under Heaven (COL. 1:23).
There are reports–I’ve even read in Australian newspapers about Roman and Phoenician coins being found here–from explorers, anthropologists, and archeologists that in the first century, peoples of India, China, Japan, Tahiti, Peru, Brazil, and North America had their sick healed, dead raised, storms calmed, and a message of salvation taught them. Their teachers came on Roman-type ships and WALKED ACROSS THE WATER TO REACH THE LAND. In the Polynesian islands, they would walk across the sea to the next island. After a short stay, one would remain, the others depart. Finally when the people gave up war and sacrifice of children, when they learned the Law based on love, he too would depart.
This was the seventh sign foretold by Yahshua to His disciples in MATTHEW 24:14: And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end (of Yerushalem and the temple) come.
In addition to that above, I want to mention DANIEL 9:27 used by me as evidence that the persecution in Yerushalem and Yudaea was for three and a half years before the new Church was forced to flee or be martyred like Stephen, James, and their Saviour. I need to use the very hard to understand Old King James version of this Scripture because in most modern Bibles it is mistranslated, misinterpreted, and corrupted. It starts in verse 26 with Messiah cut off or crucified, and the people of the prince, that is, Titus, the Roman general who was the son of then Roman emperor Vespasian, destroying the city and the sanctuary (Yerushalem and the temple) in AD 70.
Verse 27 continues: And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Makes even a dedicated student of the Bible cringe, doesn’t it?
The modern Church believes this is talking about a false prophet, messiah, or the beast taking an abominable image or some such into a newly built temple in modern Yerushalem and causing a renewed system of Jewish sacrifices to cease before enthroning himself there. I learned this in Bible College. It’s rubbish.
Verse 27 refers back to Messiah of verse 26 who confirms His sacrificial covenant with those many who accepted it back then (in AD 30). In the midst of a seven-year period–the week (this is another teaching we may touch on one day)–half of which was His time on Earth and the other half after He died when the Gospel was preached in Yudaea before the persecuted Christians fled for their lives, Yahshua BECAME the sacrifice, causing the animals sacrifices and oblations to cease. The priests didn’t actually stop until the temple was destroyed forty years later, but YHWH made it clear by the ripping of the curtain in front of the Holiest of Holies it was no longer His will. Then we cut back again to Titus and his abomination (the Roman army surrounding Yerushalem in AD 70) which desolates the city. So the first and second he of verse 27 refers to Yahshua, and the third he is Titus.
Of course, they were desolated because they rejected their Messiah. He had already prophesied that in MATTHEW 23:36-38. Titus had given orders before Yerushalem was taken that the beautiful Herodian temple was to be left untouched, and not destroyed. But a stray burning arrow from a Roman archer was fired into it resulting in its complete annihilation. Yahshua’s and YHWH’s words can never be thwarted. Once spoken, that’s it!