Did you hear about the Scythians?

Hello and welcome to another post from The Eason Clan! Before we dive into today’s post, I just want to say, “Thank you!” Yes, to you the faithful followers who have been with me since day one, and the new subscribers and viewers who follow my blog.

It’s always been my passion to share my writings, skills and time with people. I look forward to the future of The Eason Clan blog.

So again…

Thank you.

This week we will be looking at a Bible scripture that is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Amazing because it’s life changing for ANY person who receives it. It was totally profound and revolutionary during the time it was written. I would also like to add present day to that as well. It offers a hope that can be found no where else.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian or not, this post today has a powerful lesson behind it.

Let’s get going!

🎶Postman Pat, Postman Pat🎶

And his little black cat. I remember dipping my mozzarella cheese cubes into Thousand Island Dressing while watching Postman Pat as a child. Yum yum.

I’m sure the person we’ll be talking about today would have loved to have his own mail man. Who is this man I speak of?

Paul the Apostle.

YouVersion bible app for Kids. Paul on the left. My children love this app!

Paul would have kept Postman Pat permanently employed.

By http://blogs.coventrytelegraph.net/passtheremote/Postman-Pat.jpg, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27371286

Arguably one of the most influential people in history (Paul that is). He wrote 14 of the 27 books in the New Testament. That’s a whopping 51.8%! (thank you Google).

Wowza! His writings and teachings have influenced countless lives for thousands of years. All of his writings he asserted were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not made up on his own.

Folks, this man pumped out letters like the ‘fat man’s’ elves at the North Pole.

Quite an amazing feat considering the majority of his letters were written under arrest and he never had a typewriter.

Yes indeed, Paul spent about five years in prison, two of which were served under house arrest, guarded day and night by a Roman soldier. Most historians agree that during this time period Paul wrote some of his most influential letters; one of which we will be talking about today.

Colossians. Written around 60 AD.

In the letter Paul addressed the newly founded church in Colossae located in the Roman region of Phrygia, present day Turkey. A smaller town compared to the mighty cities of the Roman Empire, the church of Colossae was growing and needed guidance in a culturally hostile environment.

Throughout his letter Paul encourages, corrects, and teaches the Christians of Colossae. The church badly needed his wisdom and advice as some believers were mixing paganism and secular philosophy with Christian doctrine, a dangerous combination.

In Colossians 3: 1-6, Paul lays out some negative things and sins that entangle people before they know Christ. He then states how important it is to get rid of all those things after you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

For our purposes today, here is the scripture we will be exploring:

“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized*, slave or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

Paul in his letter to the Colossian church. Colossians 3:7-11 NLT version

Did you notice the asterisk after the word ‘uncivilized’? Well that my friends is a word that is found in the NLT version. What Paul originally wrote in the Greek was the word…Scythian.

So technically it reads like this:

“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, Scythian, slave or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

Paul in his letter to the Colossian church. Colossians 3:7-11 NLT version

There is nothing wrong with changing the word from Scythian to uncivilized; after all most of us today wouldn’t recognize the word Scythian anyway. So the NLT bible translators replaced it with a more modern term, and asterisked the uncivilized and made Scythian a footnote.

However the word “uncivilized” doesn’t hold a candle when compared to “Scythian”.

The definition of uncivilized:

not civilized or cultured; barbarous.

Uncivilized Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.com

Honestly that doesn’t help much. Let’s break it down more with the definition of the word civilized:

to bring out of a savage, uneducated, or rude state; make civil; elevate in social and private life; enlighten; refine:

Civilize Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.com

*Example*

The Eason Clan children act like uncivilized barbarians when they eat spaghetti.” (A fair example I assure you)

I love Garfield.

“So who are these Scythians anyway?”

I’d thought you’d never ask.

Terror on Horses

Scythians: The Ancient Horselords Of The Eurasian Steppe (realmofhistory.com)

Present Day example of a “crisis” for most tech dependent people.

…The power went out and you have no internet, and your iPhone is on 5%…

“THE WORLD HAS ENDED!!!”

My friend it’s a good thing you never met a Scythian warrior…

In the 8th century BC, the Scythians were a group of nomadic people that lived in modern day Iran. They were expert horse riders and expert archers, thus making them feared among the surrounding nations for their mobility and sudden striking power.

I first learned about the Scythians when I started playing an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game on my computer. By far one of my favourites for it’s strategy and historical accuracy- Total War: Rome II. You choose a nation like Rome, Egypt, etc in the known world of the time and through diplomacy, warfare, and trade conquer other nations.

That sparked my history brain. So I started researching the nation. I found fascinating details about warfare and their tactics for luring in the enemy, retreating (falsely) and then overwhelming their foes in ambush.

The Scythian’s in Total War: Rome II

The Scythians conquered everywhere they went, even raiding as far as Egypt and Pharaoh bribed them with a ton of treasure to leave Egypt alone.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythia#/media/File%3AScythia-Parthia_100_BC.png

Remember the Assyrian Empire? They were a the “superpower’ in its day. Harsh, cruel and unrelenting in conquest. They terrorized the Israelites, Egyptians, etc. The nation is well documented in the Bible for their conquest, boastful military might, and their ability to wage war. (2 Kings chapters 18-19)

The Assyrian Empire. (Picture from
http://www.biblestudy.org)

A fraction of the Scythian army teamed up with the Meades to take down the Assyrian Capital of Nineveh in 612BC. This helped lead to the downfall of the once mighty Assyrian empire (Scythians: The Ancient Horselords Of The Eurasian Steppe (realmofhistory.com)

The Romans were known for their atrocities – punishments so severe to intimidate any opposition. The Babylonians were masters of relocating conquered peoples to the far corners of their Empire, thus separating their enemies, and lessening the chance of revolt.

They Scythians were straight up brutal.

“So what? The Scythians sound like any other rampaging nation of the ancient world. What’s so special about them?”

First they were a very efficient fighting force. Armed with a specially made recurve bow and a crazy skill for firing arrows at rapid speed, the Scythians would rage like a tidal wave over their enemies. Greek historian Herodotus wrote:

“None who attacks them can escape, and none can catch them if they desire not to be found.”

Herodotus (Book 4, 5th century BC. https://blog.britishmuseum.org/introducing-the-scythians/)

Terrifying enough having to withstand elite fighters like that. It get’s worse.

“The Scythian’s exploits struck fear into the hearts of the ancient Greeks and Persians. Herodotus wrote about their violent burial customs, including human sacrifice and drug-fuelled rituals.”

Source: Andrew Curry, Discover, July 2008

When one of the Scythian nobles died, his wives, slaves, and horses were all slaughtered and buried with him – so they could be together in the afterlife.

Yeah, you read that right.

Human sacrifice.

Pretty dark right?

So why are the Scythians mentioned in Pauls letter?

Woah….That’s Grace

(THIS NEXT PART IS MY OWN FICTIONAL CONVERSATION WITH PAUL)

***CHRISTIAN’S QUESTION PERIOD WITH PAUL***

Christian: “Hello folks and welcome to the new segment…Christian’s Question Period! Also known as CQP!!! Today we have a man who was no stranger to danger. Stoned and left for dead! (and I don’t mean by marijuana). I mean good ol rock throwing. He was whipped, shipwrecked, bitten by a poisonous snake and lived! He even perfected the art of scaling city walls in a basket! Paul I got to ask, how did you manage to survive all those attacks on your life?”

Paul: “That’s a great question, Christian. First, let me say it was by the Grace of God. Without him I am weak, but through Him I am strong.”

Christian: “Wise words my friend. Please explain why you chose to include the Scythians in your letter to the Colossians? Like dang man they were human sacrificers, and murderers.”

…..

Paul: “I knew exactly what I was doing. Most people during that time period would have known of the Scythians. Even hundreds of years after their nation lost its peak power, their reputation and legacy was still fresh in memory.

Christian: “Please explain.”

Paul: “I alluded to the Scythians because I wanted to hammer home my point to the Colossians: no one is to far outside God’s forgiveness. His grace covers all sin.”

Christian: “Even the Scythians?”

Paul: “No matter what you have done, no matter where in the world you are from, everyone can receive God’s forgiveness and mercy and become a follow of Christ. Your past religion doesn’t matter, your past sins don’t count. Nothing can inhibit you from what He offers. Even the Scythians…yes the barbaric things they evidently committed…murder, human sacrifice, drug use, etc.

Christian: “So let me get this straight. If anyone comes with a repentant heart and asks Jesus Christ into their life and asks for forgiveness they can be saved?”

Paul: “Exactly.”

Christian: “Well folks you heard it from the man himself. Tune in next time for our next guest, Cousin John the locust lover.”

Wow. That was nuts.

I leave you with Paul’s own words and also a quote from John Newton, former slave trader Captain turned Christian and writer of the amazing hymn, Amazing Grace.

Paul.

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus. This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.”
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭1:12-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬
https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.1.15-17.NLT

If God can redeem a former Scythian, then he can redeem you and I.

Today is a good day. Let’s live it to the fullest.

Christian

“I am not the man I ought to be, I am not the man I wish to be, I am not the man I hope to be, but by the Grace of God I am not the man I used to be.

John Newton

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