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Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

Matthew 1:1-17 – The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

Luke 3:23-38

MT1:1 A bible[1] of a genealogy[2] of Jesus[3] Christ,[4] son of David, son of Abraham:[5]

MT1:2 Abraham[6] generated[7] Isaac,[8] Isaac generated Jacob,[9] Jacob generated Judah[10] and his brothers,[11] MT1:3 Judah generated Perez[12] and Zerah[13] by Tamar,[14] Perez generated Hezron,[15] Hezron generated Ram,[16] MT1:4 Ram generated Amminadab,[17] Amminadab generated Nahshon,[18] Nahshon generated Salmon,[19] MT1:5 Salmon generated Boaz[20] by Rahab,[21] Boaz generated Obed[22] by Ruth,[23] Obed generated Jesse,[24] MT1:6 Jesse generated King David.[25] David generated Solomon[26] by Uriah’s woman,[27] MT1:7 Solomon generated Rehoboam,[28] Rehoboam generated Abijah,[29] Abijah generated Asa,[30] MT1:8 Asa generated Jehoshaphat,[31] Jehoshaphat generated Jehoram,[32] Jehoram generated Uzziah,[33] MT1:9 Uzziah generated Jotham,[34] Jotham generated Ahaz,[35] Ahaz generated Hezekiah,[36] MT1:10 Hezekiah generated Manasseh,[37] Manasseh generated Amon,[38] Amon generated Josiah,[39] MT1:11 Josiah generated Jeconiah[40] and his brothers upon the Babylonian deportation.[41] MT1:12 After the Babylonian deportation Jeconiah generated Shealtiel,[42] Shealtiel generated Zerubabbel,[43] MT1:13 Zerubabbel generated Abiud,[44] Abiud generated Eliakim,[45] Eliakim generated Azor,[46] MT1:14 Azor generated Zadok,[47] Zadok generated Achim,[48] Achim generated Eliud,[49] MT1:15 Eliud generated Eleazar,[50] Eleazar generated Matthan,[51] Matthan generated Jacob,[52] MT1:16 Jacob generated Joseph[53] Mary’s[54] man[55] who generated Jesus,[56] the one called “Christ.”[57] MT1:17 Therefore all the generations from Abraham until David[58] were fourteen generations; and from David until the Babylonian deportation[59] were fourteen generations; and from the Babylonian deportation until the Christ[60] were fourteen generations.[61]

 

Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels contain...

Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels contains the incipit Liber generationis of the Gospel of Matthew. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[1] Bible: The Greek is BIBLOS. Or, KJV: book; WMS: family tree; KNX: record of ancestry.

[2] Genealogy: The Greek is GENESEOS. Or, generation (KJV).

[3] Jesus: The Greek is IESOU meaning, “Yah Saves.” There is no “J” in Greek.

[4] Christ: The Greek is KHRISTOU and means one christened or anointed. A Hebrew bias word would be, Messiah.

[5] Son of David, son of Abraham: The two most important links to his forefathers.

[6] Abraham: One of the most important persons in the Bible; indeed, one of the most important persons in the modern world, adored by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. His name occurs over 290 times. The name is a most common name of males among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The name means “Father of a Multitude” and first occurs at Genesis 17:5 where his name is changed from “Abram” meaning “Father of Rejoicing” (Father’s Joy). The first occurrence of Abram is at Genesis 11:26. This form of the name occurs over 60 times.

[7] Generated: Or, “was the father of”; “fathered.” The Greek is EGENNESEN.

[8] Isaac: The name occurs over 140 times with the first occurrence at Genesis 17:19. It is a name given by an angel of Yahweh even as was the name Jesus.

[9] Jacob: The name occurs 400 times and means “Grabbing the Heel” occurring first at Genesis 25:26.

[10] Judah: The name occurs 870 times and means “Praised” occurring first at Genesis 29:35. It is the root of the term “Jew.”

[11] Brothers: The foundations of the tribes of Israel. The account is recorded in Genesis 31.

[12] Perez: The name occurs 20 times and means “Perineal Rupture.” It occurs first at Genesis 38:29.

[13] Zerah: The name occurs 20 times and means “Shining” or “Rising” occurring first in the above context at Genesis 38:30. Apparently it is a common name as others earlier are so named.

[14] Tamar: One of four women named in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Her name means “Palm Tree” and occurs 30 times regarding different women, the first at Genesis 38:6.

[15] Hezron: The name means “courtyard” or “settlement” and occurs first at Genesis 46:9 for a total of 20 times.

[16] Ram: His name means “High” (see 1 Chronicles 2:9) and is presented as Arni in Luke’s genealogy (Luke 3:33).

[17] Amminadab: The name occurs 16 times and means “Noble” or “Generous” occurring first at Exodus 6:23.

[18] Nahshon: Occurs 13 times beginning at Exodus 6:23 and means “Serpent.”

[19] Salmon: The name occurs about 6 times, first at Ruth 4:20.

[20] Boaz: The name occurs 30 times, first at Ruth 2:1, meaning “Strong.”

[21] Rahab: Meaning, “Wide” or “Spacious” – the second woman mentioned in the genealogy, a Gentile harlot whose name occurs 19 times, first at Joshua 2:1.

[22] Obed: Meaning “Servant” and occurring first at Ruth 4:17 for a total of 35 times.

[23] Ruth: The name occurs first at Ruth 1:4 for a total of 19 times. A Gentile, the third woman to be mentioned in the genealogy. Her name means “God is King.”

[24] Jesse: The name, meaning “Yahweh (causes) forgets,” occurs 53 times with the first at Ruth 4:17.

[25] David: A king of Israel. Meaning “Beloved” and occurring over 1200 times, the first at Ruth 4:17.

[26] Solomon: A king of Israel. The name means “Peace” and occurs 320 times with the first at 2 Samuel 5:14.

[27] Uriah’s woman: Bathsheba is not mentioned though alluded to. Here Matthew honors the loyal and courageous Gentile soldier. Like other languages the Greek has no word for “wife.” It is “woman” and the context determines whether it is a “wife” or a “woman.” Uriah’s name occurs 30 times with the first occurrence at 2 Samuel 11:3. His name means “Yah is my Light” and is likely his Hebrew name after converting from the Hittites.

[28] Rehoboam: A king of Israel whose name occurs 55 times and means “Widen the People.” The first occurrence is 1 Kings 11:43.

[29] Abijah: A king of Judah. The name means “Yah is my Father” and occurs 37 times, the first at 1 Samuel 8:2.

[30] Asa: The third king of Judah. The name occurs 63 times and appears first at 1 Kings 15:8.

[31] Jehoshaphat: A king of Judah. The name occurs 83 times and means “Yahweh is Judge” occurring first at 2 Samuel 8:16. A name associated with the Plains of Megiddo (Armageddon).

[32] Jehoram: A king of Judah. The name means “Yahweh is Exalted” and occurs 83 times, the first at 1 Kings 22:50.

[33] Uzziah: A king of Judah. His name means “My Strength is Yahweh” and occurs 34 times with the first occurrence at 2 Kings 15:13.

[34] Jotham: A king of Judah. His name means “Yah Perfects” and occurs 27 times with the first occurrence at 2 Kings 15:5. There are other men with this name.

[35] Ahaz: A king of Judah. His name means “Yahweh Grasps” and occurs 47 times with the first occurrence at 2 Kings 15:38. The henpecked husband of Jezebel.

[36] Hezekiah: A king of Judah. His name means “Yah Strengthens” and occurs 139 times with the first occurrence at 2 Kings 16:20. A strong associate of Isaiah.

[37] Manasseh: A king of Judah. His name means “Causing Forgetfulness” (It is an ancient name – Genesis 41:51) and occurs 155 times with the first occurrence at 2 Kings 20:21. Manasseh is thought to have martyred Isaiah and yet becomes one of the greatest examples of repentance and forgiveness.

[38] Amon: A king of Judah. His name means “Faithful” and occurs 21 times with the first occurrence at 2 Kings 21:18.

[39] Josiah: A king of Judah. His name means “Yah Heals” and occurs 31 times with the first occurrence at 2 Kings 21:24. Others are so named. Josiah is a good example of a youth dedicated to God with great love for the Word.

[40] Jeconiah: A king of Judah. His names means “Yah Establishes” and occurs 13 times with the first occurrence at 1 Chronicles 3:16.

[41] Babylonian deportation: Thought by some to be around 611-607 BC.

[42] Shealtiel: His name means “Requested of God” and occurs 15 times with the first occurrence at 1 Chronicles 3:17.

[43] Zerubabbel: A governor of Judah upon return from Babylonian captivity around 537 BC. His name means “Seed of Babel” and occurs 28 times with the first occurrence at 1 Chronicles 3:19.

[44] Abiud: His name means “Dignified Father” and only occurs here. Some think this is the same as “Joda” in Luke 3:26, others do not.

[45] Eliakim: His name means “My God Raises” and occurs 15 times with the first occurrence at 2 Kings 18:18.

[46] Azor: From the genealogy of Joseph. From here the records would be based on Matthew’s research. His name means “One Offering Help” and only occurs here.

[47] Zadok: An ancestor of Joseph. The name means “Righteous” and belongs to numerous persons in the Bible. The name occurs 56 times

[48] Achim: An ancestor of Joseph. His name means “Yah Establishes.” This is the only occurrence of the name.

[49] Eliud: An ancestor of Joseph his name means “God of Dignity.” This is the only occurrence of his name.

[50] Eleazar: An ancestor of Joseph. His name means “God Helps” and appears 79 times as the names of other men.

[51] Matthan: The great-grandfather of Joseph. His name only occurs here.

[52] Jacob: The grandfather of Joseph. The name means “Surplantor” and occurs 409 times in the Bible.

[53] Joseph: The foster father of Jesus the Nazarene. His name means “Yah Increases” and occurs 264 times in the Bible. Joseph, husband of Mary, is mentioned 29 times in the Christian Bible. A carpenter by trade, possibly he died in the early life of Jesus.

[54] Mary’s: Mary is a form of Miriam meaning “Rebellious.” The name Mary occurs 68 times in the Christian Bible. There are six Marys in the Bible. M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopaedia (1881, Vol. III, p. 774): “In constructing their genealogical tables, it is well known that the Jews reckoned wholly by males, rejecting, where the blood of the grandfather passed to the grandson through a daughter, the name of the daughter herself, and counting that daughter’s husband for the son of the maternal grandfather.”

[55] Man: The Greek is ANDRA and “husband” is inferred by the context.

[56] Jesus: This is the name given by the angel of Yahweh in Luke’s account. The name means “Yah Saves” and occurs 1109 times in the Christian Bible. Jesus is the Latin form of the Greek IESOUS, which corresponds to the Hebrew Yeshua or Yehohshua and means “Yahweh Is Salvation.”

[57] Christ: The designation is the Greek KHRISTOS and means one christened or anointed. The title occurs 748 times in the Christian Bible. It occurs most often in the Letter to the Romans.

[58] Abraham until David: Roughly from 2,000 to 1000 BC or about 1,000 years and about 70 years per “generation.”

[59] David until the Babylonian deportation: Roughly 500 years or 35 years per generation.

[60] Deportation until the Christ: Roughly about 500 years or 35 years per generation.

[61] Generations: For a total of 42 generations between Abraham and Jesus Christ.

This text of the Gospel of Matthew is a new version, the 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [NCMM], as an additional part of Nazarene Commentary 2000©. This rendering by Mark Heber Miller may be considered a literal version with limited paraphrase.

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Extra BS notes

Iesou => Jesus = “Hail Zeus”, the name given to the Nazarene Jew at the Council of Nicaea in 325 to come to terms with the three-headed greek-roman gods. Up until about 360, theological debates mainly dealt with the divinity of the son, which had to be the seame one as the son-god of the Romans and the Greeks. The worshipping of that son and the use of the statues in the community should be allowed for all the sorts of worshippers, so that the market vendors could sell their statues at liberty to any worshipper. Jeshua, Joshua (/ˈɒʃə/) or Jehoshua (Hebrew: יְהוֹשֻׁעַ Yĕhôshúa or Hebrew: יֵשׁוּעַ Yĕshúa; Aramaic: ܝܫܘܥIsho; Greek: Ἰησοῦς, Arabic: يوشع بن نونYūshaʿ ibn Nūn, Turkish: Yuşa) Yeshua (ישוע, with vowel pointing יֵשׁוּעַyēšūă‘ in Hebrew) which means “Jehovah saves/Jehovah is salvation” or “the Help(ipa) from Jehovah” or “From Jehovah comes salvation”, for the politicians had to become the second person of their tri-une godhead.  The main god Zeus (Ancient Greek: Ζεύς) had to be the “Father of Gods and men” (πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε, patḕr andrōn te theōn te) and as such should be the god of Greeks, Romans and Christians because Jupiter (Latin: Iuppiter; /ˈjʊpɪtɛr/; genitive case: Iovis; /ˈjɔːvɪs/) or Jove is the king of the gods and the god of sky and thunder in myth.

By the time of the 4° Century CE lots of false teachers had managed to introduce the Roman teachings of their gods back into the teachings of their followers. Lots of people found it easier to adapt to the new religion because it had adapted itself to their faith. for them it was than much easier to accept Jesus to be the King of kings, to be the god of light, the god of thunder, the god of miracles, the god of enlightenment, etc.

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Preceding articles:

  1. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  2. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  3. Nazarene Commentary to Zechariah and Elizabeth
  4. Nazarene Commentary to An Angel Appearing to a Priest
  5. Nazarene Commentary to Struck Dumb For Disbelief
  6. Nazarene Commentary to Elizabeth Pregnant
  7. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:46-56 – Mary Magnifies God
  8. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:57-66 – Elizabeth Gives Birth To John
  9. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:67-80 – Zechariah’s Prophecy
  10. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  11. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem
  12. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night
  13. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ
  14. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:21-24 – Presenting the Baby to God
  15. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:25-35 – Simeon’s Blessing and Warning
  16. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:36-38 – Anna’s Thanks before Those Waiting
  17. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows
  18. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple

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  • 5 Elements of the Christmas Story (virtuousgirls.wordpress.com)
    The angel Gabriel arrives to give Mary a special message. His arrival signifies that God is about to do something and do something big! God is a God of action. He is always busy doing good. Even when it seems that God is silent, He is at work behind the scenes.From the end of the Old Testament to the start of the New Testament, 400 years passed during which God did not communicate with His people Israel. It was not because He had forgotten them or abandoned them. They had turned away from Him, but He had not given up on them.
  • The Nativity According to Matthew (davidscommonplacebook.wordpress.com)
    Remember, though, that Bethlehem was a small village in this time with a likely population of a few hundred. It is doubtful that more than half a dozen children were killed, not enough to make it into any other sources we have for Herod’s rule. Herod was certainly ruthless enough to order such a massacre. He had no trouble killing members of his own family if he thought they threatened his rule. In fact, Herod being an Idumean (or Edomite) and not a Jew, was a foreigner and so was as despised by many Judeans as a Roman governor would have been. If he had heard that there was a potential rival to his throne, even a child, that the Jews might rally around, he would have wasted no time in disposing of that rival.
  • Don’t Be Afraid (josephelonlillie.com)
    Joseph was told not to be afraid, not because  God was going to take away all the fearful things but because the Messiah was coming into the world…into his family.” JE Lillie
  • Matthew 1:21-23 (inspirationsbyerika.wordpress.com)
    She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
  • Will Our Children Have Faith? (mymorningmeditations.com)
    It may seem strange to consider Judaism a missionary religion. Yet the Pharisees are described as “compass[ing] sea and land to make one proselyte.” (Matthew 23:15) Rabbinic Judaism, the product of these Pharisees, saw in Abraham and Sarah the models for those who converted non-Jews to Judaism, speaking of them as “making souls.” (Cf. Gen. 12:5)
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    There are also plenty of Christians whose children leave the faith. It can be truly said that God has no grandchildren. We each negotiate our own relationship with our Creator, regardless of who our parents are or what they believe and practice.
  • Massacre of the Innocents (nation.com.pk)
    The Gospel of Matthews narrates the horrific Biblical account of the killing of infants by the then Roman appointed Jewish king of Israel, Herod, at the time of the birth of Jesus. As it turns out, a prophecy in the Old Testament, made by Jeremiah the prophet, spoke of the birth of a new king of Jews (Hazrat Isa A.S.), ‘who would be born on the night that a star comes out of Jacob’. When Jewish astrologers of the time, the Magi, informed Herod of the coming of this event, he ordered that every child under the age of two be killed in and around the town of Bethlehem. Herod had hoped that this Massacre of the Innocents would achieve two goals: 1) it would preserve the future reign of Herod’s progeny, and 2) it would wipe out the existence, message, and purpose of the promised Messiah. Herod failed in achieving both these objectives. Per the Divine Will, just before the Massacre of Innocents started, Joseph and Mary (Hazrat Maryam A.S.) took the child, and escaped to Egypt. And thus the prophet and his mission were preserved, only to return to Israel ten years later and proclaim the truth of God.
    Two thousand years later, five thousand kilometers away from the towns of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, in the Army Public School, Peshawar, another Massacre of the Innocents took place on Tuesday.
  • Seeking Good Soil- Dec 22 (boyslumber.wordpress.com)
  • Field Notes (whitehousepost.com)
    We write to grow beyond ourselves—beyond the confines of our bodies, our minds, our time.
  • The Difference Between Grace and Mercy (codybateman.org)
    We deserve nothing from God. God does not owe us anything. Anything good that we experience is a result of the grace of God (Ephesians 2:5). Grace is simply defined as unmerited favor. God favors, or gives us good things that we do not deserve and could never earn
  • Herod (en.wikipedia.org)

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem

Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem

LK2:1 Now it occurred in those days[1] that a decree[2] was sent out from Caesar Augustus[3] to register[4] all the inhabitants of the land.[5] LK2:2 This was the first census during the time Quirinius[6] was governor of Syria. LK2:3 So everyone traveled to register in their individual towns. LK2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee and the village of Nazareth to Judea and David’s village called Bethlehem.[7] LK2:5 Because his family was of David’s genealogy he registered there with his pregnant fiancée[8] Mary. LK2:6 And it came about while they were there it became the time for her to give birth. LK2:7 She gave birth to a son – her firstborn[9] – and then she wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them at the inn.[10]


[1] In those days: About 10 AD.

[2] Decree: The Greek is DOGMA.

[3] Caesar Augustus: The Roman Emperor died in 15 AD.

[4] Register: Or, taxed, census, registration.

[5] All the inhabitants of the land: The word may refer only to Judea.

Vespasianus01 pushkin edit.png

Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus, 9th Emperor of the Roman Empire

[6] Quirinius: His full name is Publius Sulpicius Quirinius. Tacitus the Roman historian mentions him: “[Quirinius] sprang from the municipality of Lanuvium – had no connection; but as an intrepid soldier and an active servant he won a consulate under the deified Augustus, and, a little later, by capturing the Homonadensian strongholds beyond the Cilician frontier, earned the insignia of triumph,… adviser to Gaius Caesar during his command in Armenia.” [The Annals, III, XLVIII)] He died 21 AD. Josephus mentions him: “Quirinius, a Roman senator who had proceeded through all the magistracies to the consulship and a man who was extremely distinguished in other respects, arrived in Syria, dispatched by Caesar to be governor of the nation and to make an assessment of their property. Coponius, a man of equestrian rank, was sent along with him to rule over the Jews with full authority.” Josephus mentions that he ordered a taxation which may have caused the need for the census. This led to a Jewish revolt. [Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 1, 2, 3, 4 [i, 1]] For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Acts 5:37. Another commentary states: “Quirinius stood in exactly the same relation to Varus, the governor of Syria, as at a later time Vespasian did to Mucianus. Vespasian conducted the war in Palestine while Mucianus was governor of Syria; and Vespasian was legatus Augusti, holding precisely the same title and technical rank as Mucianus.” [The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge 1957, Vol. IX, pp. 375, 376] This and other histories and archaeological discovers proves the existence of such a person.

[7] Bethlehem: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew 2:6. [Micah 5:2]

[8] Fiancée: Or, espoused wife, betrothed, engaged, having been given in marriage. The state of engagement made Mary his woman or wife. Though they were not married by the Jewish ritual of the wedding feast, there was no legal condemnation under the Law of Moses.

[9] Firstborn: Or, her first child. The Greek is PROTOTOKON, the first born of a woman. Thus, inferring she had other children. [Matthew 1:25]

[10] Inn: Or, lodging house. This may have been a guestroom, however it may have been a caravanary – a place where those on the trade routes stopped for over night rest. Surely it was primitive and one thing dominated the sense – the odour of animals.

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File:Daphni.jpg

A mosaic from Daphni Monastery in Greece (ca. 1100), showing the midwives bathing the new-born Christ. Originally uploaded to English Wikipedia by User:Ghirlandajo.

Additional notes:

About the birth of Christ there are different opinions, but all historians agree Jeshua son of Josef and Miriam (Joseph and Mary) was born before the beginning of the contemporary time calendar system. We take it he was born on October 17, 4BCE.
All has to be taken in account: cleaning of the stalls, having the sheep out in the fields, position of the stars and lunar circle with the amount of falling stars and special notated events in the air, plus the census and the people in charge at the time, as well as the killing of the babies.

Please do find additional reading:

  1. Astronomical and Historical Evidence for Dating the Nativity in 2 BC
    By Nollet, James A.
    Academic journal article from Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Vol. 64, No. 4
    Article details
    It is commonly accepted that Jesus Christ was born either before 4 BC (working from references in Matthew, Flavius Josephus) or after AD 6 (working from information in Luke). However, Flavius Josephus’s dates are unreliable and sometimes argue against themselves. Astronomically, the eclipse of March 13, 4 BC, is highly unlikely to have been the eclipse which Josephus states heralded the death of King Herod, who, therefore, did not die in 4 BC; neither did Herod die in 3 BC or 2 BC, since there were no lunar eclipses visible in Judea in those years. However, 1 BC had two eclipses; either of these, more likely the latter, was the eclipse which just preceded Herod’s death. Herod, therefore, died either in 1 BC or AD 1, and Jesus, therefore, was born either from 3 BC to 1 BC, or from 2 BC to AD 1. The Quirinius census of Luke’s gospel was not the Quirinius census of AD 6, but rather the Pater Patriae census in 2 BC. Jesus was probably born then in 2 BC. This date is consistent with the records of Matthew, Luke, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Eusebius.
    When I attended Catholic parochial schools, the nuns taught us that Jesus was born “in the Year 0.” (1) Today, it is generally taught that Jesus was born during or before 4 BC. But there is no actual record of this date. This supposition rests solely on Flavius Josephus’s passing remark that a lunar eclipse occurred shortly before King Herod died, and we know there was an eclipse visible in Jerusalem on March 13,4 BC. Since we know from the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus was up to two years old or younger when Herod died, this means Jesus could have been born as early as 6 BC. This date, however, seems to clash with the Nativity account in Luke, which says that the Nativity occurred during a census conducted by the Roman Governor of Syria Quirinius, who we know conducted a census of Judea in AD 6. This article proposes that the likeliest date of the Nativity was not 4 BC, but instead about 1 BC. This is also the year when Herod actually died, and it reconciles the apparent discrepancy of dates in the Nativity accounts of Matthew and Luke.
    There are actually many estimates for the year of the birth of Jesus. Some of the earliest include the placement of the birth of Jesus in the 44th year of the reign of Emperor Augustus, about 3-2 BC by Irenaeus in AD 180. (2) In AD 194, Clement of Alexandria estimated that Jesus was born 194 years before the death of the emperor Commodus who died on the last day of AD 192; therefore Jesus was born around 2 BC. (3) Early in the fourth century, Eusebius wrote that Jesus was born in the 42nd year of the reign of Augustus, and in the 28th year after the death of Cleopatra. (4) Leaving aside the issue of inclusive or exclusive counting, that places the birth of Jesus at around 2 BC. The Gospel of Luke states that there was a “universal census” of the entire Roman world shortly before Jesus was born, when P. Sulpicius Quirinius was governor of Syria. Quirinius was governor twice, in 3 BC and in AD 6. (5) However, we generally and popularly suppose that Luke was referring to the latter term, because that was the year in which a local census for taxation purposes occurred; this would mean that Luke exaggerated when he spoke about a census of the whole (Roman) world.
    According to Josephus, Augustus sent Quirinius to be governor of Syria at the same time that he sent Coponius to be the first procurator of Judea, (6) stating also that this census occurred in the 37th year “after Caesar’s victory over Antony at Actium” (31 BC) (7) which, counting inclusively, brings us to AD 6. However, we will see that Josephus was wrong on many of his dates. Therefore, as a working hypothesis, I regard it as possible that Josephus got his fact wrong about Coponius, confusing Quirinius’s first term as governor with his second term. If so, most of the discrepancy between the dates of the Nativity which exists between Luke and Matthew …
    Read the full-text article

    Eusebius of Caesarea.jpg

    Eusebius of Caesarea Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist

  2. The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith: The Incarnational Narrative as History
  3. Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity
  4. Nativity Allusions–Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary, 1986
  5. Christmas and Arbitrary choice for 25 December
    The choice of 25 December is considered arbitrary and not based on evidence provided in the New Testament, the Christian text dealing with the life of Christ. Many theories have been put forward for the choice of the 25 December as Christ’s Nativity, but that it fell during Roman Saturnalia is now largely dismissed. It appears to have been fixed in relation to Epiphany (6 January), counting backward twelve days (now the twelve days of Christmas) or thirteen nights by the lunar calendar. It also falls three days after the winter solstice, a date when a number of pagan gods underwent resurrection after the shortest day of the year. This includes Sol Invictus of the Roman state religion during pagan times, a cult associated with the deification of the emperor. Whatever the explanation, it is evident that the early Christian Fathers, in their struggle for political and psychological supremacy, turned the interpretatio romana (the process of romanizing foreign gods) on its ear by expropriating a number of pagan symbols and observances and providing them with new Christian meanings. For this reason, Christmas and especially the foods associated with it represent a fusion of diverse pagan strands varying widely in emphasis from one country to the next. The celebration of Yule in Scandinavia has become one of the most distinctive aspects of the holiday as observed in northern Europe. The tradition of St. Nicholas of Myra in the Netherlands and the Franciscan cult of the Bambino Gesu in Italy are examples of the many forms these fusions have taken. All are expressed symbolically in food.
  6. Christmas [Christ’s Mass], in the Christian calendar

    The observance probably does not date earlier than AD 200 and did not become widespread until the 4th cent. The date was undoubtedly chosen for its nearness to Epiphany, which, in the East, originally included a commemoration of the nativity. The date of Christmas coincides closely with the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere, a time of rejoicing among many ancient cultures. Christmas, as the great popular festival of Western Europe, dates from the Middle Ages. In England after the Reformation the observance became a point of contention between Anglicans and other Protestants, and the celebration of Christmas was suppressed in Scotland and in much of New England until the 19th cent.

    In the mid 19th cent. Christmas began to acquire its associations with an increasingly secularized holiday of gift-giving and good cheer, a view that was popularized in works such as Clement Clarke Moore‘s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (1823) and Charles Dickens’s story A Christmas Carol (1843). Christmas cards first appeared c.1846. The current concept of a jolly Santa Claus was first made popular in New York in the 19th cent. (see Nicholas, Saint).

    The Yule Log [Yule, from O.E.,=Christmas], the boar’s head, the goose (in America the turkey), decoration with holly, hawthorn, wreaths, mistletoe, and the singing of carols by waifs (Christmas serenaders) are all typically English (see carol). Gifts at Christmas are also English; elsewhere they are given at other times, e.g., at Epiphany in Spain. The Christmas tree was a tradition from the Middle Ages in Germany. The crib (crèche) with the scene at Bethlehem was popularized by the Franciscans. The midnight service on Christmas Eve is a popular religious observance in the Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches.

  7. Observance of Christmas in early British North America
    The observance of Christmas in early British North America derived from practices familiar in England, where 25 December was celebrated with a good deal of bawdy revelry. Due to this association, as well as the lack of any biblical sanction for that date, observance of Christmas was opposed by Puritans in England and was banned in the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1659 and 1681.
    In the nineteenth century, Christmas became domesticated, with a shift toward a nuclear family experience of gift giving around a Christmas tree. The tree was popularized by immigrants from Germany, where it had become prominent earlier in the century. Christmas became the principal sales holiday of the year, presided over by Santa Claus, a figure compounded from myth, religious history, and the need for a congenial symbol for the new attitude toward the holiday. He was introduced and promoted by popular literature and illustration, from Clement Moore‘s “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” (1823) to Thomas Nast’s cartoons of the portly character. Charles Dickens toured America in 1867 reading from his enormously popular “A Christmas Carol,” which further reinforced the notions that were crystallizing about how Christmas should be celebrated.

    Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol-Title page-First edition 1843.jpg

    A Christmas Carol, a early Victorian era Britain novella by English author Charles Dickens, first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. One of the greatest influences in rejuvenating the old Christmas traditions of England but, while it brings to the reader images of light, joy, warmth and life, it also brings strong and unforgettable images of darkness, despair, coldness, sadness and death.

  8. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  9. God’s Special Gift
  10. Birth of Christ – articles
  11. A season of gifts
  12. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  13. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  14. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  15. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  16. Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia
  17. The nativity story
  18. Religious Practices around the world
  19. Idolatry or idol worship
  20. Focus on outward appearances
  21. Speedy Christmas!
  22. Christmas trees
  23. Merry Christmas with the King of Kings
  24. What do you want for Christmas
  25. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  26. Sancta Claus is not God
  27. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  28. ‘Tis The Season To Be Cranky: Religious Right Gears Up New Round Of ‘War On Christmas’ Claims
  29. The atheist’s Thanksgiving dilemma  Whom to thank when there’s no recipient?
  30. Pagan Roots? 5 Surprising Facts About Christmas
  31. Nativity scene of the birth of the Bill of Rights
  32. Mocking, Agitation and Religious Persecution
  33. History of Christianity
  34. The imaginational war against Christmas
  35. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious

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  • Merry Christmas From Real Media (thisisrealmedia.com)
    So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
  • Have yourselve a Merry Christmas (prhayz.com)
    Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
  • Practical Details (loveunderstandserve.wordpress.com)
    Jesus was born at the time of a census called for throughout the Roman Empire. In order to expedite the data collection, the different Israelite tribes were require to assemble in their ancestral hometowns. For Joseph, this was the town of Bethlehem, where his great- (x24) grandfather David was born. This census was most probably being conducted in anticipation of a tax increase and for the purpose of enforcing military service.
  • Did a Census Really Bring Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem? (gospelbondservant.com)
    The census or enrollment, which, according to Luke 2:1, was the occasion of the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem where Jesus was born, is connected with a decree of Augustus embracing the Greek-Roman world. This decree must have been carried out in Palestine by Herod and probably in accordance with the Jewish method–each going to his own city–rather than the Roman.

    While Josephus does not mention the Herodian census, Luke carefully distinguishes the census at the time of Jesus’ birth as “first,” (i.e. first in a series of enrollments connected either with Quirinius or with the imperial policy inaugurated by the decree of Augustus).

    The geographical work of [Herod] Agrippa, together with the interest of the emperor in the organization and finances of the empire and the attention which he gave to the provinces are indirectly corroborative of Luke’s statement. Augustus himself conducted a census in Italy in and in Gaul in 727/27* [see Roman dating system, ‘AUC‘] and had a census taken in other provinces. For Egypt there is evidence of a regular periodic census every 14 years extending back to 773/20 and it is not improbable that this procedure was introduced by Augustus.

    The time of the decree is stated only in general terms by Luke, and it may have been as early as 727/27 or later in 746-8, its execution in different provinces and subject kingdoms being carried out at different times. Luke dates the census in the kingdom of Herod specifically by connecting it with the administrative functions of Quirinius in Syria. But as P. Quintilius Varus was the legate of Syria just before and after the death of Herod from 748/6-750/4 and his predecessor was C. Sentius Saturninus from 745/9-748/6 there seems to be no place for Quirinius during the closing years of Herod’s reign.

    Tertullian indeed speaks of Saturninus as legate at the time of Jesus’ birth. It is possible that the connection of the census with Quirinius may be due to his having brought to completion what was begun by one of his predecessors; or Quirinius may have been commissioned especially by the emperor to conduct a census in Syria.

  • Nazareth to Bethlehem (toddthehiker.wordpress.com)
    More than 700 years before the birth of Christ the prophet Micah foretold the place of the Messiah’s birth, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”  (Micah 5:2)  The reason Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem in the first place was because of the decree from Caesar Augustus, someone who did not even acknowledge the God of the Israelites.  If not for his decree there would have been no reason for a poor carpenter from Nazareth and his pregnant betrothed to make the difficult trip to Bethlehem.  When you stop to consider the events that took place to ensure the fulfillment of this prophesy you realize just how incredible they are, and perhaps you can begin to understand the sovereignty of God.
  • The Nativity explained: The Census (christiantoday.com)
    A counting of peoples across the Roman Empire, requiring that all people return to the lands of their origin. In Joseph’s case, that was Bethlehem, the city of David.
    +
    it isn’t as though Rome only had one census that came round every so often. There were tax censuses, designed to give an idea of exactly how much money the government could bring in, but there were also allegiance censuses, where rather than merely counting everyone, people were gathered up and encouraged to swear a pledge of allegiance to Caesar in Rome.
  • The Star of Bethlehem explained? (must read) (religionstudent.wordpress.com)
    The Star of Bethlehem plays a significant role in the nativity story.  Most Christians accept this as part of tradition, while the phenomena is criticized by those who are less likely to buy in to the story.  However, could it be that the Star of Bethlehem isn’t just part of a story?  Could the famous star actually have existed at the time of Jesus? According to “Biblica The Bible Atlas: A Social and Historical Journey through the Lands of the Bible” it may have actually existed.

    First, to support Biblica’s claim, we must first look at the birth of Jesus.  By exploring the two accounts of the Birth of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew.  Matthew makes the claim that Jesus was born in the time of King Herod (the man who later plans to kill the newborn).  Luke does not only make mention of King Herod, but the author also makes mention of Jesus being born during the time of Augustus Caesar and Quirinius the governor of Syria.  Luke’s account, however, is controversial.  Augustus ruled from 27 BCE to 14 CE and Quirinius governed Syria from 6-7 CE.  The problem comes with Herod who ruled from 37-4 BCE.  This historical fact means that Luke’s mention of Quirinius is inaccurate and should be disregarded (although historical accuracy is not the focus of Luke’s Gospel).

  • Was There Really a Census at the Time? (nostopministries.wordpress.com)
    Luke’s precise language emphasizes a particular census, as if to contrast it with similar ones. In fact, another census did occur ten years later, which Luke refers to in Acts 5:37. The author’s additional information concerning Qurinius’s governorship (Luke 2:2), which is unnecessary for the narrative, reveals a familiarity with the recent past. Luke knew his audience would need clarification between similar events, so he gave them the details necessary to understand the date he meant.The emperor at the time of Jesus’s birth, Caesar Augustus, kept count of the population throughout his empire for taxation purposes. Israel would have been no exception. Even if we have no other accounts of the census taken during that time (which is no proof that the event didn’t happen given the sparse records available), the event seems likely from what we do know of the Roman Empire.

    Quirinius may, in fact, have governed Syria at the time and also ten years later. However, the original Greek suggests another possible reading. Luke’s statement may imply that King Herod performed a Jewish style census (counted according to the historic location of the tribes and clans) to keep the peace. Thus, the command of Caesar was notreally carried out in the Roman method (counted by where the person was born) until ten years later when Qurinius was governor and Herod had died.

  • The Nativity According to Luke | David’s Commonplace Book
    Linus quotes from the Gospel according to Luke. There are two accounts of Jesus’s birth in the New Testament, the account that Luke gives and the account that Matthew gives. Mark ignores the question of Jesus’s birth entirely, preferring to begin with Jesus’s public ministry while John actually begins his account before the nativity and moves from there to Jesus’ career.
  • What Luke Actually Wrote (str.typepad.com)
    The gist of the problem is that Luke claims that the first tax when Quirinius was governor of Syria was at the time of Jesus’ birth – around 4-2 B.C. The Jewish historian Josephus, however, records that the first tax under Quirinius’ administration was in 6 A.D., after Jesus’ birth. There’s no reconciling these reports, unless we actually look back at what Luke wrote and at some historical data.
  • Was Jesus really born? – Virendra Parekh (bharatabharati.wordpress.com)
    “Let me tell you at the outset that Jesus is no mythological mumbo-jumbo like your Rama and Krishna, and even Buddha. On the contrary, he was a solid historical figure whose miracles were witnessed and vouchsafed by many contemporary people,” said a Jesuit missionary to Sita Ram Goel. Let us have a closer look at this ‘solid historical figure’.

    Historicity of Jesus as described in Gospels has been one of the principal dogmas of all Christian denominations. Now, as Ram Swarup used to say, historicity by itself does not mean much. You and I are historical persons, but that fact by itself does not confer greatness or any other virtue on us. However, when historicity of the founder is touted as a point of superiority, we are inclined to examine it a little more closely.
    +
    Sita Ram Goel has pointed out that word “Christian” does not appear in the Christian literature itself before 140 AD. On the other hand, anti-Christian polemics which appears for the first time around 160 AD, starts by questioning the existence of a character called Jesus Christ.

Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit

In the previous articles we have seen that churchmen of the late third and early fourth centuries, such as Athanasius, reflected this influence as they formulated ideas that led to the Trinity. Their own influence spread, so that Morenz considers “Alexandrian theology as the intermediary between the Egyptian religious heritage and Christianity.”

The early days of Christianity

2.2.3. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit

Cybele, Ankara Museum

Montanus (? born in Ardaban (Misia) not for from Phrygia – 195) was first a priest of the Anatolian Earth Goddess Cybele.  Phrygia‘s State deity was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor, and spread from there to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies from around the 6th century BCE. In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater (“Great Mother”). The Roman State adopted and developed a particular form of her cult, and claimed her conscription as a key religious component in their success against Carthage during the Punic Wars.

When Montanus converted to  Christianity, at Ar­daoau he fell into a trance and began to “prophesy under the influence of the Spirit.” He was soon joined by two young women, Prisca, or Priscilla, and Maxirnilla, who also began to prophesy. He got the message that Christ would soon return and that the Holy Spirit would reign now.
As a prophet of God convinced that the Paraclete spoke through him Montanus proclaimed the towns of Pepuza and Tymion in west-central Phrygia as the site of the New Jerusalem, making the larger Pepuza his headquarters. His followers, the Montanists awaited, the coming of the Holy Ghost to take the place of the Son and announce a more perfect Gospel, made Him the object of an exclusive worship, which the Church had to repress.

Giving the Holy Spirit such an important place in adoration was as such not such a bad teaching to bring forth the third person in the godhead. The idea to transpose the function of Anatolian Mother Goddess  Cybele to Mary as mother of Christ, was very convenient, because now Mary could also be seen as the Magna Mater (“Great Mother”) or mother of God and could be adored. She now could belong to other figures to be but apart or made “holy” (‘set apart’ as sacred.[1])

More and more artefacts where used to bring adoration or placed in worship spaces. God detests statues or artefacts given shape by man for worship. In the Old Testament, votive offerings, the re­turn of which to profane use was strictly banned; such objects, destined for destruc­tion, thus became “accursed” as well as con­secrated. [2] The apostle Paul also considered such statues or stone carvings an abomination which should be ruled out. He spoke about something’s to be “denounced” [anathema] or accursed but also being “offered up to God”. Praying to statues was considered a crime for the first Christians.

Those who showed their love to pictures or statues did do something against the commandments of God and showed that they did not love Elohim the Most High God but were objects of loathing and execration to all holy beings. For the first Christians they were unrepentant of a crime that merits the severest condemnation and as such should not be considered any more as part of the ecclesia. They were exposed to the sentence of “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” for they did “not embrace saving beliefs, as was the sentence of all mankind before the atonement, justification and sanctification of the blood of Christ that allowed for the redemption of sins”. [3]

The use of the word “anathema” to signify a curse and forced expulsion from the com­munity of Christians was taken over and became the standard term in the church after St. Cyril of Alexandria pronounced his 12 anathemas against the heretic Nestorius (in 413 CE). In the 6th cen­tury, anathema came to mean the severest form of excommunication that formally sepa­rated a heretic completely from the Christian Church and condemned his doctrines; minor excommunications, while prohibiting free reception of the sacraments, obliged the sinner to rectify his sinful state through the sacra­ment of Penance.

File:Svenskaya.jpg

SS. Anthony and Theodosius with the Theotokos Panachrantos, an 11th-century icon from the Svensky Monastery. Tretyakovkaja Gallery. – 11 Century

In the 4° century they liked the idea of the adoration of the Holy Spirit and the Magna Mater or Theotokos, the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include ‘God-bearer ‘ and ‘the one who gives birth to God’. The Council of Ephesus decreed, in opposition to those who denied Mary the title Theotokos (“the one who gives birth to God”)[4] but called her Christotokos (“the one who gives birth to Christ”). Athanasius of Alexandria in 330, Gregory the Theologian in 370, John Chrysostom in 400, and Augustine all used theotokos.[5]

Next to the incarnation of God now the Spirit would also come onto the earth and could be adored or worshipped. In 380 the anathemas [6]pronounced by Pope Damasus, in the Fourth Council of Rome, condemned whosoever should deny that the Holy Ghost must be adored like the Father and the Son by every creature (Denzinger, Enchiridion, n. 80). These anathemas were renewed by Celestine I and Virgilius, and the ecumenical council of 381 in its symbol, which took its place in the liturgy, formulated its faith in the Holy Ghost, “Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified.” These expressions indicate the unity of the adoration of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; that is, that one or the other Person of the Trinity may be adored separately but not to the exclusion of the other two.

The idea of a Trinity, which, since the Council of Nice, and especially through Basil the Great (370), had become the Catholic dogma was of course not only regarded by Jews as antagonistic to their monotheistic faith . Real students of the Bible found no reason to go into such a teaching. For them the Bible was clear with words like the ‘son of God’. It became even worse when certain Christians took this Three-Une God, ‘God the son’ ‘God the Father’ together with “the Holy Ghost [”Ruaḥ ha-Ḳodesh”] as conceived of as a female being,” having their parallels in all the heathen mythologies.[7]


[1] In this sense the form of the word was once (in plural) used in the Greek New Testament, in Luke 21:5, where it is rendered ‘gifts.’

[2] Old Testament descriptions of reli­gious wars call both the enemy and their be­seiged city anathema inasmuch as they were destined for destruction.

[3] Alternatively, the Apostle Paul could be suggesting that those who do not love the Lord should be offered up to God.

[4] For some Mary gave birth to Jesus, who would be the god of eternity, being both God and man, divine and human and therefore the child born ‘tokos’ from God ‘Theos’ or Theotokos.

[6] Offerings or precious Gifts made to God

[7] As has been shown by many Christian scholars, such as Zimmern, in his “Vater, Sohn, und Fürsprecher,” 1896, and in Schrader’s “K. A. T.” 1902, p. 377; Ebers, in his “Sinnbildliches: die Koptische Kunst,” 1892, p. 10; and others.

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=489&letter=C&search=Christianity

  • The Doctrine Of The Trinity (justsimplyinlove.wordpress.com)
    Christians regards their religion as monotheistic, since Christianity teaches the existence of one GodYahweh, the God of the Jews. It shares this belief with two other major world religions, Judaism and Islam.
  • Advent Series 2012, Pt. 4 | Mary: The Mother of God (thereformedwesleyan.com)
    She was a simple and frail human being just like the rest of us. I think that there are some within the Christian family that have gone too far in seeking to praise Mary for her role in the Christmas story. However, I do believe that those of us on the other side of the family do not go far enough in recognizing the remarkable fact that Mary was the one chosen for this sacred task.
    +
    The first characteristic Mary demonstrated was humility.
    +
    The second characteristic that Mary demonstrated in this short exchange was acceptance.
  • Mary & Joseph (findingchristinchristmas.wordpress.com)
    In real life we see out-of-wedlock births all the time. Plus, we witness all the consequences thereafter to one extent or another.But, how miraculous that God chose Jesus to be born this way.
  • Fatherhood: One Reason the Holy Trinity Matters (gregoryccochran.com)
    The Holy Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, operating in complete unity of will and purpose (though 3 distinct, divine persons)–is unique to Christian theology. The Trinity belongs to no other religion, and, thus, no other religion can explain the complexities of the universe.
  • YOUCAT(38) Who is the “Holy Spirit”? (mycubao.org)
    When we discover the reality of God in us, we are dealing with the working of the Holy Spirit.
  • Advent: The First Baby Shower Unites Women on the Margins (wholeness4all.wordpress.com)
    In America, baby showers are times for women to come together and celebrate new life; presents are exchanged, advice given, and games played. Mary and Elizabeth celebrated the new life within them by exchanging presents of joy, encouragement, song, and prophecy. Both women were carrying children of promise: one would pave the way and the other would be the way.
    +
    during this season of Advent, let us remember that the Gospels included everyday people who God used in extraordinary ways.
  • Charles Stanley: 10 Ways to Know You’re Following the Holy Spirit (promisebook.net)
    Not sure if you’re being led by the Spirit? Here are a few key Scriptures to help discern.
  • Hail Mary, Full of Grace – Advent Meditation (mccatholic.com)
    There is a tendency in Protestant and many Anglican circles to overlook Mary.  We see her in Nativity scenes and on Christmas cards.  We sometimes hear the Ave Maria sung or played at this time of year, but there is often such a fear of treading on ground that is considered Roman Catholic that many Christians miss out on the great lessons that the Mother of our Lord and the Mother of the Holy Church has to teach us.  Many of us have been brought up in circumstances and backgrounds that, if not directly, then indirectly, lead us to feel that any honor or veneration paid to Mary was an act of worship and therefore wrong and sinful.

Politics and power first priority #2

The early days of Christianity

2.2.2. Politics and power first priority #2

Between ‘first-born’[1] indicating being the first one of the New Covenant period, the first born of the New Creation which was pre-eminent for the followers of the Messiah[2] , the New Adam opening the gateway for the new people of God, became under fire because certain people started to believe that Jesus was the first person born, even before Adam, the first man was created. This idea entered in the second period of the 2nd century and developed further in the 3rd century with Clement of Alexandria [c. 150- c. 214 CE] who used the term “protoktistos” in his Stromata[3] but later on calls Jesus “protoktistos”, [first-created][4] Clement uses the term first-created, as though it was first-born, to Clement and others, the two meant the same thing and were interchangeable and in fact, if we look at Clements same work [Stromata] just a little later on in chapter 14, page 465, we come across the expression, “tes sophias tes protoktistou tw thew”, which means, “Wisdom, which was the first of the creation of God”, here we clearly see the [genitive] “protoktistou” [of the creation]! Clement repeatedly identifies the Word with the Wisdom of God, and yet he refers to Wisdom as the first created of God; while in one passage he attaches the epithet “First-created,” and in another “First-begotten,” to the Word.

To the church fathers [pre-Nicene] the terms “prototokos” and “protoktistos” were naturally synonymous and interchangeable terms, they treat both equally and with the same meaning!

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a partnership formed (harmonia, syymphonia) wich became one of the foundations of the Christian Empire.[5] Because the religious peace of the East was threatened the Roman Emperor Constantine I convoked (325) the first ecumenical council (see Nicaea, First Council of Nicaea) to solve the problems raised by Arianism. Arianism as the theological view that Jesus was divine, but was created by and is lesser than God the Father, was officially condemned as incorrect by the Council of Nicaea in 325, which gave its seal of authority to the established trinitarian view. The Nicene Creed was formed and taken up in catechisms that require students to memorize the Nicene Creed. The Greek term homoousios [consubstantial, of the same substance] used by the council to define the Son’s relationship to the Father was not universally popular: it had been used before by the heretic Sabellius. Some, like Marcellus of Ancyra the Galatian churchman, the most violent opponent of Arianism in Asia Minor, developed the theory that the Trinity was the result of emanations from God that would ultimately revert to God in the final judgement. In attacking Arianism, lapsed into Sabellianism (Sabellius). The voices of orthodoxy, however, were not silent. In the West St. Hilary of Poitiers and in the East St. Basil the Great ( c.330–379, Greek prelate, bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Doctor of the Church and one of the Four Fathers of the Greek Church with the Cappadocian theologian St. Gregory Nazianzen ( c.330–390) and St. Gregory of Nyssa ( d. 394?) continued to defend and interpret the Nicene formula. By 364 the West had a Catholic emperor in Valentinian I, and when the Catholic Theodosius I(346?–395, Roman emperor of the East (379–95) and emperor of the West (394–95), son of Theodosius, the general of Valentinian I) became emperor of the East (379), Arianism was outlawed.

St. Gregory of Nyssa (eastern ortodox icon)

St. Gregory of Nyssa (eastern ortodox icon) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The second ecumenical council was convoked to reaffirm the Nicene formula (Constantinople, First Council of 381, second ecumenical council). It was convened by Theodosius I, then emperor of the East and a recent convert, to confirm the victory over Arianism. Arianism within the empire seems to have expired at once. However, Ulfilas or Wulfila [Gothic,=little wolf], (c.311–383, Gothic bishop, translator of the Bible into Gothic) was converted to Christianity at Constantinople and was consecrated bishop (341) by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia and carried (c.340) Homoean Arianism to the Goths living in what is now Hungary and the NW Balkan Peninsula with such success that the Visigoths and other Germanic tribes became staunch Arians. Arianism was thus carried over Western Europe and into Africa. The Vandals remained Arians until their defeat by Belisarius (c.534). Among the Lombards the efforts of Pope St. Gregory I and the Lombard queen were successful, and Arianism finally disappeared (c.650) there. In Burgundy the Catholic Franks broke up Arianism by conquest in the 6th cent. In Spain, where the conquering Visigoths were Arians, Catholicism was not established until the mid-6th cent. (by Recared), and Arian ideas survived for at least another century. Arianism brought many results — the ecumenical council, the Catholic Christological system, and even Nestorianism, and, by reaction, Monophysitism. Nestorianism on the one hand saying Jesus was to be two distinct persons, and Monophystium on the other, closely and inseparably uniteophysitism [Gr.,=belief in one nature], a heresy of the 5th and 6th cent., which grew out of a reaction against Nestorianism. It was anticipated by Apollinarianism and was continuous with the principles of Eutyches, whose doctrine had been rejected in 451 at Chalcedon (see Chalcedon, Council of ) fourth ecumenical council. [6]

The emperor Constantine completed what Paul had begun to some —a world hostile to the faith in which Jesus had lived and died. The Council of Nice in 325 determined that Church and Synagogue should have nothing in common, and that whatever smacked of the unity of God and of the freedom of man, or offered a Jewish aspect of worship, must be eliminated from Catholic Christendom.

The transfer of the seat of power from Rome to Constantinople, and the founding of the East Roman empire under Constantine I. gave to Asia Minor, and especially to Constantinople, a commanding importance in the history of the Church for several centuries. The seven oecumenical Councils from 325 to 787 were all held in that city or its neighborhood, and the doctrinal controversies on the Trinity and the person of Christ were carried on chiefly in Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt.


[1] “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;” (Colossians 1:15 ASV)

[2]The Greek for firstborn is proto with tikto: firstborn. The Greek for first created would be proto with ktizo: first created. Paul did not use the second but the first. Second, the biblical use of the word “firstborn” is most interesting. It can mean the first born child in a family (Luke 2:7), but it can also mean “pre-eminence.” In Psalm 89:20, 27 it says, “I have found David My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him…I also shall make him My first-born” (NASB). As you can see, David, who was the last one born in his family was called the firstborn by God. This is a title of preeminence here.” CARM(Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry)

[3] Book, 5 chapter 6, section 35, and book 5, chapter 14, section 89

[4] Stromata in ANF 2, chapter 6, page 452

[5] June, 325. (First Council of Nicaea) plus fourteen councils, held between 341 and 360

[6] H. M. Gwatkin, Studies of Arianism (2d ed. 1900); J. H. Newman, The Arians of the Fourth Century (1933, repr. 1968); J. Pelikan, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (1971).

W. H. Frend, The Rise of the Monophysite Movement (1972); J. Pelikan, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (1971) and The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia® Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

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Previous: Politics and power first priority #1

Next: Politics and power first priority #3

Dutch version / Nederlandse versie:  Politiek en macht eerste prioriteit #2

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  • The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils (catholicexchange.com)
    To be deep into history, John Henry Newman wrote, is to cease to be a Protestant. Put another way, to be deep into history is to become stronger in the Catholic faith—something we are all called to do in this Year of Faith.
    +
    one key to understanding the orthodox teachings of these councils is heresy. The councils, especially the earliest ones, were essentially anti-heresy conventions, called to sort the wheat of dogma from the chaff of heresy.
    +
    In all, there were 21 ecumenical councils.
  • From Lofty Words to Faithful Action (lifegivingwater.wordpress.com)
    Arius believed that people were putting too much emphasis on the Jesus’ divinity that they were forgetting his humanity. After all, does it not say in John 3:16 that Jesus was God’s only begotten son, explicitly stating that Jesus was brought into existence by the Father?  Yet, Alexander felt that to emphasize Christ’s humanity was to strip Christ of his divinity and to make him less than fully divine.

Politics and power first priority #1

The early days of Christianity

2.2.1. Politics and power first priority

File:ArsameiaSockelII.jpg

Mtihras; Dexiosis-Relief from Arsameia by Nymphaios, Turkey – Photo Klaus-Peter Simon

It was just as impossible to bring men back to the old simplicity as to make them return to the old pagan beliefs and to the national form of worship. Consequently, the empire had to identify itself with the progressive movement, employ as far as possible the existing resources of national life, exercise tolerance, make concessions to the new religious tendencies, and receive the Germanic tribes into the empire. This conviction constantly spread, especially as Constantine’s father had obtained good results there from. In Gaul, Britain, and Spain, where Constantius Chlorus ruled, peace and contentment prevailed, and the prosperity of the provinces visibly increased, while in the East prosperity was undermined by the existing confusion and instability. But it was especially in the western part of the empire that the veneration of Mithras predominated. Constantine the Great wondered if it would not be possible to gather all the different nationalities around his altars. Could not Sol Deus Invictus, to whom even Constantine dedicated his coins for a long time, or Sol Mithras Deus Invictus, venerated by Diocletian and Galerius, become the supreme god of the empire? Constantine may have pondered over this. Nor had he absolutely rejected the thought even after a miraculous event had strongly influenced him in favour of the God of the Christians. [1]

For political reasons after his victory against his rival Maxentius, Constantine granted tolerance to the Christians and took a further step in their favour. He was the first Roman emperor who recognized the church’s resistance against a pagan Roman state established upon the ruler cult as a political factor. In 313 Licinius and he issued at Milan the famous joint edict of tolerance. This declared that the two emperors had deliberated as to what would be advantageous for the security and welfare of the empire and had, above all, taken into consideration the service which man owed to the “deity”. Therefore they had decided to grant Christians and all others freedom in the exercise of religion. Everyone might follow that religion which he considered the best. They hoped that “the deity enthroned in heaven” would grant favour and protection to the emperors and their subjects. This was in itself quite enough to throw the pagans into the greatest astonishment. When the wording of the edict is carefully examined there is clear evidence of an effort to express the new thought in a manner too unmistakable to leave any doubt. The edict contains more than the belief, to which Galerius at the end had given voice that the persecutions were useless, and it granted the Christians freedom of worship, while at the same time it endeavoured not to affront the pagans. Without doubt the term deitywas deliberately chosen, for it does not exclude a heathen interpretation. The cautious expression probably originated in the imperial chancery, where pagan conceptions and pagan forms of expression still lasted for a long time. Nevertheless the change from the bloody persecution of Christianity to the toleration of it, a step which implied its recognition, may have startled many heathens and may have excited and given them a chance to blend their religion with the other one.

Arch of Galerius (detail)

Arch of Galerius (detail) (Photo credit: George M. Groutas)

The imprisoned Christians were released from the prisons and mines, and were received by their brethren in the Faith with acclamations of joy; the churches were again filled, and those who had fallen away sought forgiveness. Though it was good that there were religious people who remained in the original Christian faith and were conscious of the dangers of this political handshake.

Constantine had become master of the Roman world and was determined on restoring ecclesiastical order in the East, as already in the West he had undertaken to put down the Donatists at the Council of Arles. He managed to come to an agreement with most of the church leaders by giving them also power, just for changing some teachings, giving in some ways of thinking, and of celebrations. In the dedication of Constantinople in 330 a ceremonial half pagan, half Christian was used. The chariot of the sun-god was set in the marketplace, and over its head was placed the Cross, sign of the god of evil Tamuz, for Christ, while the Kyrie Eleison was sung. Shortly before his death Constantine confirmed the privileges of the priests of the ancient gods. Many other actions of his have also the appearance of half-measures, as if he himself had wavered and had always held in reality to some form of syncretistic religion.[2] Thus he commanded the heathen troops to make use of a prayer in which any monotheist could join, and which ran thus: “We acknowledge thee alone as god and king, we call upon thee as our helper. From thee have we received the victory, by thee have we overcome the foe. To thee we owe that good which we have received up to now, from thee do we hope for it in the future. To thee we offer our entreaties and implore thee that thou wilt preserve to us our emperor Constantine and his god-fearing sons for many years uninjured and victorious.”[3]

The Church tolerated the cult of the emperor under many forms. It was permitted to speak of the divinity of the emperor, of the sacred palace, the sacred chamber, and of the altar of the emperor, without being considered on this account an idolater. From this point of view Constantine’s religious change was relatively trifling; it consisted of little more than the renunciation of a formality. For what his predecessors had aimed to attain by the use of all their authority, and at the cost of incessant bloodshed, was in truth only the recognition of their own divinity; Constantine gained this end, though he renounced the offering of sacrifices to himself.


[1] The original Catholic Encyclopedia

[2] Syncrtism

[3] http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Constantine_the_Great

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Previously: Hellenistic influences

Next: Politics and power first priority #2

Dutch version: Politiek en macht de eerste prioriteit #1

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File:Vatican-Apostolic Palace-Battle of Milvian Bridge.jpg

Vatican City, Apostolic Palace, Constantine and The Battle of Milvian Bridge – Photo Jean-Christophe Benoist

  • Constantine’s Gift to Christianity (insightscoop.typepad.com)
    On October 28, 312, Emperor Constantine met Emperor Maxentius in battle just outside the city of Rome at the Milvian Bridge, spanning the Tiber. This battle—occurring exactly 1,700 years ago—is one of the most important events in the history of Christendom, since it was through Constantine’s victory that Christendom began. It is a battle well worth reflecting upon.
  • Constantine’s Gift to Christianity: Catholic World Report (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)
    There are, for example, those who take Constantine’s conversion as the beginning of the end of real Christianity. Christianity, they argue, is the Christianity of the early Church, the Church before it became favored and hence entangled with the empire, the pure Church, the Church before Constantine, the Church of the martyrs.

    The problem with this romantic vision of the pure early Church is that it wasn’t shared by the early Church. We owe it to them to take things, first of all, from their point of view.

  • October 27, 312 – Constantine’s Conversion (gentlereformation.org)
    Constantine reported having a dream in the night. In that dream, he saw the Chi-Rho sign (the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ), with the promise “in this sign, conquer.” Constantine believed he had received a sign from the God of the Bible, and commanded that his soldiers to place the Chi-Rho sign on their shields as they went into battle.
  • Christianity and Constantine 1700 Years Later (reflectionandchoice.wordpress.com)
    The defeat of Maxentius is a significant step in Constantine’s quest to become master of the entire Roman Empire, but historians have usually emphasized it as the turning point in his relationship with Christianity.
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    Constantine favored Christianity with money and attention and set a trajectory for its continued growth. He did not, however, make Christianity the official religion of the empire. That move would be made a few generations later.
  • Late Antique Crossbow Fibula Looted from Turin (adrianmurdoch.typepad.com)
    Dorothy King at Lootbusters passed over details of a crossbow fibula which was stolen from the Museo d’Antichita in Turin.
    +
    CONSTANTINE CAES VIVAS (May Constantine caesar live)… is an indisputable reference to the emperor who was going to have a greater impact on history than any other of the tetrarchs, the future augustus Constantine the Great.
  • Constantine and Christendom: Glory or Calamity? | Catholic Lane (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)
    how the church became allied (sometimes, anyway) with the state, and how armed resistance to the state is also sometimes allowed under our doctrines. All of this as well as much more come from Constantine, who provides one of the major turning points in Christianity.

    Here we see the beginning of the Church Militant, and the beginning of Christendom as we understand it. We have spoken here  of the importance of this to western civilization.
    +
    At first, Christians found it hard to adjust to this radical transformation.  In the end they found it impossible to discern the divine will without reference to salvation history.  Our ancestors in the Faith had to take divine Providence as it actually transpired, not as one might suppose the Great Helmsman of history could more fortuitously have steered the course of events. Proud minds ready to second-guess God wonder why the Divinity did not stop Christians from having recourse to the sword; or why God let the Church be sullied by immersion in power politics.

  • The historical evolution between the churches and politics in the Roman Empire (perspectives11.wordpress.com)
    Christianity started out as a small group of followers. They did not have a place of worship; they would often reunite at each other’s homes.In the early 60’s AD, a fire broke out in Rome that destroyed most of the city, emperor Nero blamed the Christians for it and ordered them to be killed. At the time, most of the Romans were Pagan; they believed in many Gods, as well as the emperor was considered a semi divine monarch. Christians were persecuted for centuries in the Roman Empire, and executed by getting torn apart by dogs or burnt alive.
  • The day Christianity became a fighting faith (thewesternexperience.com)
    + Jonathan Kay: The day Christianity became a fighting faith
    Constantine was a conqueror. And like all conquerors, he wanted to memorialize himself in word and stone. “Over his reign, he gave the Church an equal place alongside the traditional official cults, and lavished wealth on it,” writes Dirmaid MacCulloch in his 2009 opus Christianity: The first 3,000 years. “Christianity would now embark on its long intoxication with architecture, previously a necessarily restricted passion. Among [Constantine’s] many other donations were 50 monumental copies of the Bible commissioned from Bishop Eusebius’ specialist scriptorium in Caesarea: an extraordinary expenditure … for which the parchment alone would have required the death of around 5,000 cows.”

    In Constantinople (formerly Byzantium), Constantine created a network of churches devoted to various saints, festivals and holy days, thereby establishing the pattern of prayer-by-station that remains a feature of Christian pilgrimage to this day. He also promoted the practice of convening councils of bishops to settle questions of religious doctrine. This included the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. (presided over by Constantine in person), whose eponymous creed created the foundational dogma that Christ is “begotten, not made” “from the substance of the Father, God from God, Light from Light.”

    Unfortunately, Constantine used the same venue to promote the theme of Jew-hatred that would remain a stubborn part of mainstream Christian thought and culture until well into the 20th century. “At the council, we also considered the issue of our holiest day, Easter,” he wrote. “In the first place, it seemed very unworthy for us to keep this most sacred feast following the custom of the Jews, a people who have soiled their hands in a most terrible outrage, and have thus polluted their souls, and are now deservedly blind.”

     

Raising digression

The early days of Christianity

1.2.       Considered as a danger

1.2.3.                    Raising digression

Christianity reached proconsular Africa in the second, perhaps already at the close of the first century. There was constant intercourse with Italy. It spread very rapidly over the fertile fields and burning sands of Mauritania and Numidia. Cyprian could assemble in 258 a synod of eighty-seven bishops, and in 308 the schismatical Donatists held a council of two hundred and seventy bishops at Carthage. The dioceses, of course, were small in those days.

File:Great Isaiah Scroll Ch53.jpg

Portion of a photographic reproduction of the Great Isaiah Scroll, the best preserved of the biblical scrolls found at Qumran. It contains the entire Book of Isaiah in Hebrew, apart from some small damaged parts. This manuscript was probably written by a scribe of the Jewish sect of the Essenes around the second century BC. It is therefore over a 1000 years older than the oldest Masoretic manuscripts.
This picture shows all of Isaiah 53 (and is mostly identical to the Masoretic version).

The oldest Latin translation of the Bible, miscalled “Itala” (the basis of Jerome’s “Vulgata”), was made probably in Africa and for Africa, not in Rome and for Rome, where at that time the Greek language prevailed among Christians. Latin theology, too, was not born in Rome, but in Carthage. Tertullian (Tertullianius) is its father. Minutius Felix, Arnobius, and Cyprian bear witness to the activity and prosperity of African Christianity and theology in the third century. It reached its highest perfection during the first quarter of the fifth century in the intellect and burning heart of St. Augustin, but soon after his death (430) it was buried first beneath the Vandal barbarism, and in the seventh century by the Mohammedan conquest. Yet his writings led Christian thought in the Latin Church throughout the dark ages, stimulated the Reformers, and became a vital force for many today.

From the second half of the first century C. T. the going astray increased and apostasy entered however the municipalities and many were influenced through it. So-called Christians got integrated with the nations of the world and could not distinguish themselves of the world. After the so-called conversion of Constantine in the fourth century the heathen streamed in large numbers to the form of Christianity that then led the dominant tone. With which consequence? The book Early Christianity and Paganism declares: “The relatively small group really serious religiously went lost in the large mass so-called Christians.” How true were to be Paul’s words! It was as if Christianity were swallowed by pagan decay. And nowhere this rot was clearer noticeable than in the celebration of holidays.

The first fifteen bishops of Christianity were circumcised Jews, they observed the Law and were rather unfriendly to heathenism[1], while they held friendly intercourse with the leaders of the synagogue[2]. Many a halakic and haggadic discussion are recorded in the Talmud as having taken place between the Christians and the Rabbis[3]. Probably the Christian Congregation, or Church of the Saints, did not distinguish itself in outward form from the “Ḳehala Ḳaddisha”[4] at Jerusalem, under which name the Essene community, to which John the Baptist seems to have belonged, survived the downfall of the Temple[5].

Between the ethical and the apocalyptic teachings of the Gospels and the Epistles and the teachings of the Essenes of the time, as given in Philo, in Hippolytus, and in the Ethiopic and Slavonic Books of Enoch, as well as in the rabbinic literature, the resemblance is such that the influence of the latter upon the former can scarcely be denied. Nevertheless, the attitude of Jesus and his disciples is altogether anti-Essene, a denunciation and disavowal of Essene rigor and asceticism; but, singularly enough, while the Roman war appealed to men of action such as the Zealots, men of a more peaceful and visionary nature, who had previously become Essenes, were more and more attracted by Christianity, and thereby gave the Church its otherworldly character; while Judaism took a more practical and worldly view of things, and allowed Essenism to live only in tradition and secret lore (see Clementina; Ebionites; Gnosticism).[6] The Essenes broke not with the official priesthood, took no part at religious services and offerings in the temple, but otherwise held themselves strict at the Law. As the Pharisees, with who they in many respects shown some similarity, they fell prey to Hellenic influences and went to believe in an immortal soul.

The apostles were aware that the Gospel must be preached to all nations, and then the consummation shall come, and therefore they expressed their hope people would continue to study the Word of God and evangelise.


[1] “Historia Sacra,” Sulpicius Severus, ii. 31; Eusebius, “Hist. Eccl.” iv. 5; compare Matt. xv. 26)

[2] see Grätz, “Gesch. der Juden,” iv. 373 et seq.; and Ebionites, Minim, and Nazarenes

[4] Meshullam formed a society called “Ḳehala Ḳaddisha” (the Holy Community), because its members devoted one-third of the day to the study of the Torah, one-third to prayer, and the remaining third to work (Yer. Ma’as. Sheni 53d; Eccl. R. ix. 9).
Read more: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=758&letter=S#ixzz15AWdlkt6

[5] Ber. 9b; compare Eccl. R. ix. 9: ‘Edah Ḳedoshah

  • 7 Christological heresies that you should know about… (patheos.com)
    Ebionism teaches that Jesus is just a man and not divine. The Ebionites were Jewish Christians in the early church. The Ebionites rejected the virgin birth, regarding Jesus as a man normally born of Joseph and Mary; they held he was the predestined Messiah, and in this capacity he would return to reign on earth. There are plenty of “Ebionites” around today. Everybody who says Jesus was just a good man or one prophet or holy man or good religious teacher among many.
  • BONUS: An Introduction to Colossians (kingdomnewtestament.wordpress.com)
    We know that by the second century AD there was a Christian philosophy in place in many churches that accepted a dualistic worldview.  A Gnostic thought the world was composed of two parts: the evil and degrading physical layer of life, and the pure and edifying spiritual aspects of life.
    +
    Consider how Gnosticism would affect beliefs and ethics.  They did not believe that Jesus was physical.  Jesus did not die a physical death on a cross, it only seemed that way.  Our greatest mission is to escape this physical world, not redeem it.  There were also two opposing views on how to deal with this physical body we live in: 1) deny your flesh and beat it into submission to your superior spiritual willpower, and 2) indulge your flesh and satisfy your physical desires wantonly showing that you have the spiritual strength within your pure soul to wallow in the mire of life and not be affected adversely by your physical behaviors. If an early form of Gnosticism was present in Colossae, the details of the letter suggest it was of the ascetic variety.
  • Ancient Heresies and Why They Still Matter (steakandabible.com)
    Johnson said “Gnosticism is an attempt to blend pagan philosophy with Christianity.” “This heresy is so diverse and so complex that it is notoriously difficult to define,” but “the central idea” is that “Gnostics believe that the key to saving truth lies in a hidden knowledge that goes beyond what is revealed in Scripture.” Salvation requires “possessing the secret knowledge.”
  • A Prayer for Sunday (Irenaeus of Lyon) (marccortez.com)
    Irenaeus of Lyons, who died sometime around AD 202. One of the most important early theologians of the Christian church, Irenaeus is best known for his Against Heresies, a lengthy refutation of gnosticism, which was one of the major challenges to orthodox Christianity at the time.
  • There’s no 3rd chance. (revessie.com)
    Peter was trying to tell us that there were false doctrines already circulating. Imagine the level that we are at now.There was a man named Cerinthus who believed in heresy so much that even John ran away from a Bath House when he saw him in there and told people to run also. This is how bad this man was. He was a mystical believer. He allegedly began the Millennial heresy. Watch what you believe in.
  • Noisy Worship versus the Discipline of Silence (kiwianglo.wordpress.com)
    A suspicion of silence took root in the second and third centuries, when bishops penned diatribes against the so-called gnostikoi, Christians who claimed that God was most fully known as unknowable, and so therefore in silence. To be branded a gnostic was to be cast out of the fold. Then, in the fourth century, came the conversion of Constantine. The church aligned itself to secular power and now what you thought was of political importance too. Thereafter, western rites included creeds to be audibly confessed. They policed who was in and who out.

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