Acting on a decree by the mad tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BC, the tyrant’s henchmen tried to destroy all copies of Jewish Scripture. The books of the law (i.e. Jewish Scripture) that they found they tore to pieces and burned with fire. Anyone found possessing the book of the covenant, or anyone who adhered to the law, was condemned to death.
In A.D. 303, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edit to destroy Christians and their Bibles. Over a burned Bible, he built a monument on which he wrote these words, “extincto nomine Christianorum” (meaning, “the name Christian is extinguished”). Twenty years later, Constantine commissioned fifty copies of the Bible to be prepared at government expense.
In 1776, the French philosopher Voltaire said, “One hundred years from my day, there will not be a Bible in the earth except one that is looked upon by some antique seeker.” One hundred years from the day of Voltaire’s prediction, the first addition of his works sold for eleven cents in Paris, but the British government paid Russia half a million dollars for an ancient Bible manuscript.
In A.D. 1794 Thomas Paine destroyed the faith of many by writing The Faith of Reason which many consider the atheist’s bible. He boasted, “In five years from now there will not be a bible in America. I’ve gone through the bible with an axe and cut down all of its trees.” Paine died alone, where letters were found in which he pled with God because of his loneliness.
In 1899 Robert Ingersoll, a well-known agnostic, said: “In fifteen years I will have this book in the morgue.” 15 years later Ingersoll was in the morgue.