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Eternal Life begins at salvation - John 5:24

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« on: November 17, 2006, 12:11:04 AM »

“To the Generation to Come – The Works of God”       

The two French students started their journey of exploration from Rome in the beginning of February 1874.  Rome had commissioned the journey even though they both were enrolled in the French School at Athens.  Their ultimate destinations were Mt Athos for Charles Bayet , it being on a peninsula jutting into the Agean Sea and the Island of Patmos for Abby Duchesne in the same sea.  Their primary duties were to examine certain old manuscripts reported to exist in monasteries in both areas.

Arriving at Salonica on the famous Via Egnatia they were surprised to see the sea wall bordering the ancient harbor of Thessalonica in such poor condition.   Abby Louis Duchesne, 31 (a French priest) and Charles Bayet, 25, were young and strong even after their strenuous journey from Rome so  they helped to demolish the old ramparts using the same stone to build up an embankment against the sea.  Much of the work already performed by this March of 1874 uncovered old walls and inscribed monuments used long ago to rebuild the doors to the lower part of the city.  This was being torn down again to make a new and stronger embankment.  Upon observing the Koine Greek inscriptions on these monuments they immediately assumed their well trained roles as archeology students and began to transcribe and stamp these precious inscriptions.  They had to hurry as the stone cutters were already ”touching up” all these marble stones to fit into the new embankment thereby ruining the inscriptions.  Louis and Charles saved all they could and then proceeded 200 meters further east through the Kalamari Gate only to discover many long interred sarcophagi (4 sided stone tombs with a  marble cover).  These were being unearthed as the construction proceeded.  Both men hurriedly copied as many of these inscriptions as they could before they were destroyed. Many were saved for succeeding generations to appreciate.

The reconstruction continued heedless of antiquity.  Beyond their current position there remained ”many more inscriptions to recover in the fountains of the crossroads, in particular houses, and in the mosques.”  In spite of their detailed research they had to “let much go.” 

Passing through the Yalam – Mermer district they came upon a large sarcophagus engraved with garlands and bucranes in the courtyard of a private house.  It was carved with the following epigraph; “Eisiadi te sunbioi zease amemptos ete ke… [mne]ias charin”.  The verbatim translation reads;  “Entering companions live blamelessly clansmen remberance”.   The best we can do in today’s English is;  “To my living companions, remember me as blameless”.  As we might imagine, this inscription stimulated a long but delightful dialogue between the two students.

“Look here, Louis,  this sarcophagus is decorated with garlands and bucranes.  These are similar to the ones found in the Rotunda of Arsinoe built for Ptolomy II on Samothrace around 280 B.C..  They were thought to be of a religious nature and popular with Egyptians and Greeks.  The garlands are entwined around the horns of the ox skull.  Perhaps this man was an Egyptian.  While pagan in origin, the person in this sarcophagus may have adopted these symbols for reasons of his own.  The Macedonian date inscribed here is 196 which corresponds to 50 A.D.  That is only 17 years after the ascension of our Lord!"   (This date is supported by the interaction between Paul and the Proconsul Gallio in Corinth which indicates that I Thessalonians was written from that city in the early part of the year 50 A.D.)

“It may be possible, Charles, that he was a religious man, even a Christian one, for there is another surprise in these inscriptions.  In Koine it says “zease amemptos” -“to live blamelessly”, a rare thing to put on your sepulchre.  The word amemptos is uncommon enough without finding it on a tomb.  It means that no accusation was ever brought against this man – he was umblamebable!  I think I remember the word from one of the Apostle Paul’s letters.  Would you please check your Bible.  I think you may find it in a letter written to this very city!”

“You know Charles, Jesus Himself was never  called “amemptos” because He was accused many times by the Jewish leadership and others.  Many Jews brought false charges against Him to protect their own authority.  If He was the Messiah,  then the priestly class in Judah would cease to exist!  The New Testament describes their damaging deceptions to overwhelm Him but He always knew their hearts and escaped blame because He was without sin.  The Bible refers to Him as “amomos”, not “amemptos”, “unblemished”, not “unblamed”.  Do you see the difference?”
“Remember, Charles, in the temple before the Pharisees He said ‘Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?  He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.’”   (John 8:46-47  from The NKJ Version)

Charles was still looking through his little travel Bible.  “Here it is!  Now I know why you are the Abby, Louis.  Your memory is correct – Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in his first letter: ‘And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’. (1 Thess 5:23).  But it says preserved blameless by the God of peace.  Was the inscription carved incorrectly or did he hear it wrong? The word preserved is missing.”

“No Charles, it is not incorrect.  This person has gone on to his heavenly reward and he has already been judged by Jesus.  It is no longer necessary that he be preserved blameless by the God of Peace.  Any accusation brought against him now, even by Satan, the accuser of our brethren, would be meaningless.”

“I wonder who he was , Louis.  The home is abandoned because of the construction on the road and the embankment.  We may never know!”

“We know some things about him Charles.  He was a part of the Thessalonian congregation that the Apostle Paul established in 49 A.D. and he heard Paul’s letter read in accordance with Paul’s own admonition in I Thessalonians 5:27,  ‘I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.’   I think it is safe to assume he was a serious Christian who took Paul’s benediction to heart and believed that his entire spirit, soul, and body (the whole man) would be sanctified and preserved by the God of peace until the Lord returns for His Bride.  I presume he also abstained from evil as the previous verse commands – a good start on blamelessness.  He was so convinced of the truth of Paul’s words that he had some of them inscribed on his own burial tomb!”   

“Louis, Paul had much to say to comfort and correct this congregation regarding the parousia – the second coming of Christ (I Thess 4:13-18).  It amazes me to think that on that great day this sarcophagus will open and the man within will rise up to meet the Lord in the air before we will!” 


As adult Christians we have an awesome responsibility to speak of things which build up the faith of the younger generation and new Christians regardless of their age.  Except for the dialogue all of the above is true to the best of my knowledge.  Charles and Louis were impressed at finding evidence of one person’s faith 1,824 years after the fact of Christ’s death and resurrection.  Are we as impressed that our Bibles still speak the truth 1,952 years later?

Psalms 78

"Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.

 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:

That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:

 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

(from The King James Version, Electronic Database.  Copyright ©) 1988, by Biblesoft)


Author’s note:  The inspiration for this article came from a footnote in a commentary on I & II Thessalonians by Leon Morris, page 183,  W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI. Published  1991.  Further research brought photocopies from Columbia University of the original book by Duchesne and Bayet published in 1876 in Paris,  “Memoirs of a Mission to Mount Athos.”  My thanks to Dr. Peter Esser for his help.  Additional thanks go to Brother Eric Cherry for his laborious translation from the French.  Additional books were obtained from Colgate University for more background information.

Theophilus 2002                                                                 email     theophilus13809@yahoo.com


Heed the words of Jesus:

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.  John 5:24  NKJV
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