This remarkably late, c. 1795 broadside represents in the clearest terms just how long some forgeries—and New Testament biblival forgeries in particular—were able to persist in the popular imagination. These impostures invariably seek to carry believers directly back to the times of Christ and the apostles, filling in personal details and providing theological insights that simply do not survive from the earliest period of the primitive Christian church. The first Christ's so-called "Letter from Heaven," altered the Sabbath from the Jewish Saturday to the Christian Sunday, and is also one of the first chain letters in History, declaring that he who keeps a copy of this letter "without publishing it to others shall not prosper, but he that publisheth it to others, shall be blessed of me... nothing shall hurt them, neither lightning, pestilence, nor thunder."
In his letter to Abgar of Edessa, Christ sends his regrets when asked to come to Abgar's court to heal the ailing king, citing his imminent ascension into heaven. And, finally, in Publius Lentulus's "firsthand account" of the visage of Jesus, we encounter the familiar description that, from the eleventh or twelfth century onward, informed hundreds of portraits of Christ. All three are patent forgeries of the patristic or medieval periods.