The Messianic message to India.
The article “Messianic message to India”, was published in Navhind Times, 23rd of February 2008.
The prophets of the Bible promised the Jewish people, that God the Almighty would use the house of King David of Israel to give the world a Messiah, a savior of the whole human race. This promise is best explained in God’s promise to Abraham, that all nations on Earth shall be blessed through his descendants, the people of Israel.
The good news of the death and resurrection of the Messiah, came to India from Jerusalem shortly after Christ had risen. There are records that Thomas the apostle came to Kerala in the first century, explained to us by many sources, also by Navhind Times.
Because, long time before the birth of the Messiah, the Jews had settled on the Malabar cost, involved in the flourishing sea trade from the Red Sea to the West Coast of India. The apostles in Jerusalem were told to give the good news to the Jews first. In India, many Jews could be found in the ancient settlements in Kerala.
The good news from the apostle Thomas lead to the first messianic revival in India. The first followers of Christ in India was faithful to the 10 commandments, not participating in worship of Idols of any kind. They also upheld Friday evening and Saturday as the Sabbath. The first Churches who followed the teaching of Thomas, was under the Apostolic leadership of the first followers of Christ in Jerusalem and other synods in the Middle East Please keep in mind, that not all the Jews in India embraced the early Indian Christian revival. Many Jewish settlements continued to exist in places like Cochin, Cranganore, Goa, Raigad in Maharasthra and Surat. (1.) We also know that there were early Christians in Goa. Best proof of their existence is the Agassaim cross kept in the Pilar Society (2.) This cross has been dated back to around 700 A.D. That is 800 years before the Portuguese Catholic invasion of the Indian Ocean.
Whatever view we have on the history of India, it is an indisputable fact that it was not the Portuguese or the Roman Catholic Church that brought the Messianic message from Jerusalem into India. To the rather opposite, it should be acknowledged that any conversion by force, has never been a part of the message of love that came out of Israel.
The Portuguese did not only convert many Indians and Jews to Catholicism by force, the first European Invaders of the Indian Ocean also burnt ancient Jewish settlements along the Malabar Cost. (3.). Old Goa was first spared from this brutal assault by the invaders. Probably because the Portuguese choose to use it as their capital for its new Asian colonies. In the first half of the 16th century, Old Goa grew and prospered. In 1543 A.D, two lakh people lived in what was called the Rome of the east (5.) That makes the population of Old Goa at the same size as New York and London of its time.
The Jews who lived on the West Coast of India must have participated in building this marvelous city. But In 1560 A.D, the Portuguese established an Inquisitional Tribunal in Old Goa, who persecuted and killed people who did not share the religious believe of Rome. One of the victims of this religious and inhuman behavior was the Jews of Goa, who had built a synagogue in Old Goa (4.). The ancient City of Goa was finally destroyed. In 1775 A.D, after almost 200 years of Inquisition, Old Goa had been decimated to a couple of thousand living souls, and a pile of rubble.
The Goa Inquisition with its religious practices has never been and will never be a part of the good news from Jerusalem, the Messianic message of love, mercy and forgiveness for sins, that first came to India 2000 years ago. We should not forget that the Messianic message is still not complete. The eternal kingdom of the promised Messiah will not be established before the second coming of the King of Kings to Jerusalem. The Bible tells us to worship him in Spirit and truth.
(1). Page 380, Jewish Quaterly Review, Vol 40, No.4, (1950).
(2.) Navhind Times, Panorama, Sunday May 13, 2001.
(4). «An historical and Archaeological sketch of The City of Old Goa»
By Jose Nicolau Da Fonseca. (1878)