Betrayal - Part 2
The Last Days According To Jesus - Betrayal (Mt 24:10) - Part 2
“At that time many will fall away and will betray one another…”
While the Roman Legion tried to destroy the church - and all Christians with it - they began rounding up all the believers that they could find. The persecution was the most intense that the church had experienced in its three centuries of existence. The troops of Diocletian decided that the next step in eradicating the church would be to silence its leaders. The best way to do that, they found, was to destroy the church’s books.
Those books were the hand-written scrolls and parchments that contained the church’s only copies of the Bible. Without those books, they would have nothing to turn to. Making copies of books was painstakingly tedious and costly. Most cities had only a single copy of the scriptures and they were treasured beyond anything else. It was the Holy Word of God. It was what they lived by and it had become their very food and breath. The Word was everything to His people.
The authorities rounded up the church leaders in every town and demanded all copies of their Bibles. Many church leaders were executed for their refusal. How could they betray their people and “give up” their only record of the Holy Scriptures? But, not all leaders were quite so resolute.
Some of them were weak and caved in. They surrendered their sacred texts, betraying their flocks. They became known as Traditors. Traditor is a Latin word that means “one who hands over”. We use the same word when we call someone a traitor.
The great scandal of the church was that there were men who valued their own lives more than the Word of God that they preached.
Tomorrow: why this history is so important for you and I to know as we see what is going on in our own churches every day.