Joseph of Arimathea to Britain, 37 AD -- Caradoc's Betrayal, Trial, Pardon 52 AD

By way of introduction to the whole subject of Christianity in Britain, the following is an overview of the major events, and personages found in the history of the period from 33 AD to 312 AD.

The persecution of Christians by the Jews and Romans following the resurrection of Christ resulted in the Sadducees forcing Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus' great uncle, and a small band of Jesus' disciples into a small boat that drifted from the holy land to Marseilles (France). Having travelled from there to Britain many times during his trade as a tin merchant, Joseph lead the group north to the English channel and thence to Glastonbury, Wales. On many previous trips to Britain, Joseph had become friends with the Selurian King Arviragus. The king immediately granted Joseph and his followers 12 hides (160 acres each) of land tax free, upon which to live and work. And work they did.

Immediately Joseph built the first church above ground over the mud and wattle structure that Jesus built for His earlier stay at Glastonbury. This was to become the focus of Christian pilgrimage. Disciples literally poured into the area to be trained and sent out as missionaries, to Ireland, and all of Europe. And we must note here that Mary Magdalene, her sister Martha and brother Lazurus, founded churches in the south of France at this time. They were among the original group that were cast out with Joseph of Arimathea. Records show that Philip, Paul, Peter and other well known disciples visited and refreshed in Britain. Seminaries were established to supply the steady flow of missionaries to the world.

At this same time many of the royal family were converted to the Faith, but in 42 AD an edict by Emperor Claudius made being a Christian a capitol crime. He also took up again the war against Britain started by Julius Caesar in 53 BC. Some of the events of this period are most astounding. One would guess that there was no war, but a mutual admiration pact between the two countries. While Caradoc, being made military commander of the British, was making fools of all Rome's best legions and generals, strange things were happening in the upper echelons of both sides. Contact between the two ruling factions had begun years earlier when then king Caswallon sent his two sons Cynvelin and Llyr (Lear) to Rome for their education. This was accomplished by none other than Emperor Augustus himself as he also taught his own nephews. This was during a time of truce between the two countries. But that was to end with Claudius' edict.

As the war heated up and the Roman forces were taking a severe beating, there was called a short truce, during which Claudius offered Arviragus, the British King, his daughter Venus, They were married AD 45, but that didn't accomplish the peace that Claudius hoped for, and the war was on again. But not before another liaison could be formed and consummated. The Roman Commander in Chief Aulus Plautius met and married the sister of the Pendragon Caradoc (Caractacus)! !

The Church at Rome and The Church at Home: 52-300 AD

Through betrayal, Caradoc is captured, and the war abated. Not only was the Pendragon taken captive, but his whole family to four generations. Llyr, the grandfather, Bran, the father, former Arch druid and King, Caradoc, and his children. These were all transported to Rome. Rome liked to gloat over it's conquered enemy champions; before putting them to horrible deaths for the amusement of the populace. But this was not to be the case. Almost unique in Rome's history, none of the family was executed. This was due to a short but moving speech made by Caradoc to the Roman Senate, in which he minded them that their greatness would go down in history if they spared him and his family. So they did. And routinely this speech is taught in the classrooms of England today.

But the story doesn't end there. Claudius goes on to adopt Gladys, the daughter of Caradoc, and changes her name to Claudia. She shortly after marries Rufus Pudens, the son of Aquila Pudentius a Roman Senator. They were married at the Palatium Britannicum, the Royal residence in Rome. This also served as the gentile Christian church, where Paul ordained Caradoc's fourth child Linus, the First Bishop of Rome in 58 AD. This gentile church was later to join with the Jewish Christian church at Rome headed by Priscilla and Aquila (Pudentius). These two are mentioned by Paul in the last chapter of Romans. Priscilla was Paul's mother, Aquila his stepfather. And maybe you've noticed that through Rufus' marriage to Claudia (Gladys), that Paul became an in-law of the Emperor Claudius! ! !

While Claudia and Rufus are establishing the church at Rome, Caradoc's second child Cylinus went home to take up the throne for his Dad. He will rule throughout the seven year "house arrest" of Caradoc. Cylinus' grandson Coel married a great granddaughter of Arviragus, and their granddaughter is Strada the Fair who married "Old King Coel", that we've heard of. In 245 AD Strada and Coel's daughter, Helen of the Cross, married a Christian Roman living in Britain named Constantius. Constantius, after putting down the tenth and worst Christian persecution begun by Emperor Diocletian, begun in 300 AD, moves up from Emperor of Britain, Spain and Gaul, to Emperor of the whole Roman Empire. Four years later Constantius died leaving his throne to his English-born son Constantine. Constantine beat the last Roman general, Maximian and received a hero's welcome in Rome. Acting on a vision that "by this (the symbol of the Cross) will you conquer," one of Constantine's first acts was to Christianized the Roman Empire. He was a bit of a copy cat, however. Britain was already officially a Christian nation, by decree of Lucius in 157 AD.

The Question: Why England?

England seems to be the Womb and Wellspring of Christianity: Backward Farther in Time: Two Confirming Prophecies: Have you ever stopped to notice who has been responsible for putting down world-class tyranny throughout history? England, the United States and their allies; which usually consist of the northwest European nations. The Lost Tribes of the House of Israel. And these peoples have never been wholly subjugated or conquered by any other world power. The Romans gave up and built walls in Britain; which is doubly interesting. The very location where Jesus and Joseph lived and established Christianity, Glastonbury, (Avalon) was never afflicted by Rome; inspite of Roman occupation. And I guess being an island at the time made it not worth any effort. In Claudius' time, Glastonbury lay on the very frontier, just across from Wales.

Here's a relevant comment by R.W. Morgan in "Did the Aportle Paul Visit Britain?"

" It was not until the reign of Adrian, A.D. 120, that Britain was incorporated, and then by treaty, not conquest, with the Roman dorninions, the Britons retaining their kings, land, laws and rights, and stipulating in return to raise and support three legions to be officered by the Emperor for the defence of the common empire."

He adds this footnote: "The accepting or circulating of Roman coin in Britain was made a capital offence by Arviragus; for such an act. according to the Roman construction, inferred the right of levying tribute, as we see in the Scriptures: 'whose image and superscription is this? Crsar's. Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar1s." From the reign of Claudius to that of Hadrian no coins, therefore, of the intervening Roman emperors have been found in Britain. From Hadrian onward there have been found a nearly complete series.

Finally, let's remember that when Joseph of Arimathea arrived in Britain, the first expeditionary force of Romans wouldn't land on the other side of the Island for another five years. And just as Caradoc would become God's "Protectorate" of the Roman Christian Church, Arviragus, King of England would become God's "Protectorate" for the Cradle of Christianity, Glastonbury. It was Arviragus who gifted Joseph and his companions twelve 160 acre parcels of land, tax free forever.

What is the lesson of all this? God's in control. We compare the Bible and history and it's like some James Mitchner super-novel that weaves threads of history through some 3800 years of time. It's no coincidence that England and the U.S. are the bastions of world Christianity. Or that those two countries are mainly responsible for Christianity's worldwide dissemination. Israel, not the Jews, but the other eleven tribes, were God's choice to tell the rest of humanity about His reality and Redemption. That one fact will point to the identity of those people. The people that proclaim God are the Israelites. We and Britain are Israelites. God's in control.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

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