Lets see what the true Church of Yeshua resembled.
( Parenthesis mine...remember that Martin is writing as a Roman Catholic and is slightly skewered and biased in his promotion and education,hence the reason for my distinctions)
“If you want to know what the church of Jesus was once like----- and could become again----and what once preoccupied all the attention of Peter’s successors, look at a man Pontian
( Pontianus , 18th Bishop of Rome 230 - 235 A.D.).
Two hundred years after Jesus announced His church and named Peter as it’s leader ( Peter was Bishop of the Roman Church. James was the leader of the Church which was based in Jerusalem) , the Christians of Rome, as they had been from their beginnings , were hoping and anxiously waiting for Jesus to reappear , triumph over their enemies , and bless them with eternal happiness. They hoped firmly in their triumph and that blessing , which they now felt were long past due.
For Peter had told them ,”The end of the world is at hand…set your hope on the moment when Jesus appears.” They also remembered that, when Peter was about to die, he had appointed a slave, Linus(67- 76 A.D.), as his successor so that , he told the Christians, “ You will be reminded of what I preach.” ( funny he didn’t state “what Yeshua preached“) And when Linus came to die , he appointed a man called Cletus(76- 88) with the consent of the whole group. So it went. There was always one man endowed with Peter’s central job as pope (they were actually “bishops”[overseers] of Rome)---- the word is a translation into English of the Italian “papa”, which is an abbreviation of “ Pater Patruum”, meaning “ father of fathers” or “principal father”.( Must I remind you what Yeshua commanded? “ And call no one on earth father ,for you have but one Father in heaven .” Matt 23;9)
Somewhere between Clement’s successor, Evaristus, and a pope(“bishop“…remember that the 1st actual Pope was installed by Constantine in 314 A.D.) called Hyginus, the eighth successor of Peter , the whole group of Roman Christians did the appointing of their head----probably because the incumbent leader ,or pope ( “bishop”, the Jerusalem Church’s Desposynic bishops were still pretty much the authoritative retainers of the seat of spiritual power), had been taken away to be killed without warning. When that happened, as it often did, the Christians called on their remembrance of what the early followers of Jesus had done when Judas Iscariot left them( notice Martin did not write “die”?):they gathered together, prayed a little , then held a one man-one vote election to replace the suicide( notice “suicide”? that’s because each person knew the cost of discipleship as an overseer was imminent death), accepting the outcome as the decision of Jesus, because He had told them through Peter,” Whatever you allow on earth will be what heaven allows.”( Yeshua actually said, “ Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” which is preceded by the qualifier “Bound”…it’s not in the context of allowance, for God does not allow sin) So the election process in the “Roman” group was equally simple, and had only two conditions: only Roman Christians--- men and women , by the way---could vote , and only a citizen of Rome could be chosen. ( Now we are starting to see political exclusiveness which got worse) This simple election process was followed in the early centuries whenever a dying pope (bishop)did not nominate his successor… From the start, Pontian had his hands full. Personally , of course, as a Christian ( All “) his outlook was bleak. At any moment of day or night, he could be killed on the spot; Roman law permitted this. Or he could be arrested, imprisoned, then killed in prison or paraded in the Roman stadium to be eaten by animals to the delight of as many as 80,000 screaming fans, or be sent to work and die in Roman mines somewhere in the Mediterranean.” from Malachi Martin’s “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church” pg 19-20.
This is what Pontian endured and “Christians” looked forward to when they were captured. And Bishop Pontian was captured by the guards of the new Emperor Maximinus who gave an edict ,on September 27 ,235 A.D. , that all “Christian” leaders be arrested . Priests, deacons, scholars, bishops. All of them. Their buildings were to burned, the cemeteries closed and all their personal wealth was to be confiscated.
Pontian was arrested on September 27th ,235 A.D. and was taken to Mamertine Prison.
He was tortured for about ten days in the hope that he would inform on the other leaders . And then he was condemned to the Sardinian lead mines as a felon. For all his natural life. He arrived there about Oct 12th . He would ,as all who were sent there, die there. But he knew that his suffering had just begun. For it was well known amongst “Christians” what type of reception they would receive if they were ever captured and sent to the Sardinian mines. This is what a true follower of Yeshua had in store for them if they professed His name. They were not cowards. Fearful maybe, but definitely not ignorant of their faith or fate. They knew what lie ahead. Suffering and death. And peace and wisdom.
At arrival all “convicts” would be inducted as slave miners, both men and women. Their left eye would be gouged out with a dagger and then the socket cauterized with molten iron. The joints of the left foot were burnt. Then one nerve at the back of the right knee was severed. Then all males under 30 years of age were castrated. Each was branded with a number on the forehead and then manacled in slave miners fashion. Around the ankles were soldered iron rings and then they were linked by a six inch chain. Then a tight chain was placed around the waist , that hung on the hip bones once they lost weight, that was attached to a chain that was linked to the ankle chain that disallowed the slave of ever standing up straight. He had to bend down anyway for the 20 out of the 24 hours he labored. No locks were used as the chains were soldered permanently and besides it was quite impossible to get out of the mines or let alone off the island. As soon as they were chained they strapped to an obelisk and given sixty strokes of the lash. In the 1st night, 1/3 died .
They would never shave, wash or cut their hair or nails again. No more clothes. One meal per day that consisted of coarse bread and water. They worked four five-hour shifts. They slept in their own filth. Some were killed by fellow convicts for various reasons. Some committed suicide by usually stuffing dirt in their nostrils and throats. Some went mad in the darkness and stench of the mines,it was literally Hell underneath the earth. Those who went mad ,were ailing or crippled ,were killed by the Asian guards ( who did not speak their language) without hesitation by either being clubbed to death or by a quick thrust/hack of the sword.
This was hell under earth. A perfect Satanic system of brutality and dehumanization.
For profit and suffering.
That’s what a true “Christian” knew of his impending fate if he professed the name of Yeshua and was caught. How did they endure this? Holy Spirit(Ruach ha Kodesh). Why? Yeshua. His life.
"No greater love…"
The significant issue here is that these “Christians” and bishops were under the authority and leadership of the Desposyni, of the Desposyni Church centered in Jerusalem ,who only qualified as Bishops of Jerusalem due to their true heritage , relatives of Yeshua.