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Posts tagged ‘Constantine the Great’

False teachers and false prophets still around

When Jesus was alive he warned already for a time that false teachers would come along. Soon after he died, was risen and gone up in the skies to his heavenly Father several teachers found something interesting in the rabbi his teaching they could use for their own teachings. They mixed it with Roman Greek ideas and popular traditional thoughts.

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.

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

Throughout the years deceitful individuals managed to lure people into false teachings. Worse was it when a majority of church leaders did agree with Constantine the great to come under its authority. To cease the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire some found it better to agree to those Roman Greek teachings and several gods. By agreeing to make Jeshua into a similar figure as Zeus, making his name into Issou or ‘Hail Zeus’ the worst false teaching entered in Christendom. It was a terrible turning point for Early Christianity, By some referred to as the Triumph of the Church, the Peace of the Church or the Constantinian shift.

But already before that great turning point of the introduction of the false Trinity doctrine there where also other false teachings brought by many who tried to get people around them. We can find the apostles warning about such people who twisted the words of Jesus and mixed it with popular human philosophy and popular thoughts. Those different teachers because of the more popular ideas and giving in to pagan rites could often gain more popularity than the strict followers of Jesus Christ. Lots of people believed in demons, monsters and stories about horrible beings where much enjoyed. When there were sick people there where preachers, who tried to gain there living by so called driving out such demons, they were asked to come to help and cure. That practice of exorcising went on for a long time and never disappeared. Today we still can find exorcists all over the world.

Painting of Saint Francis Borgia performing an exorcism, by Goya

Paul said to the elders of the congregation in Ephesus:

“From among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things.”

And Peter wrote in a letter to several congregations:

“There will also be false teachers among you.”

This should warn us that false teachers even may come from inside the community or congregation. Already from the early times onwards there where people who did not agree with what was going on or who rebelled against the teachings made in the community. Such a rebellion against true worship and an abandoning of it was called “apostasy” and the agitators and false teachers apostates.

Today also we can see similar apostates or people trying to infiltrate the believers in One God and followers of His only begotten son, by entering Facebook Groups or other communities wanting

“to draw away the disciples after themselves.”

The disciples Paul is talking about are the disciples of the master teacher Jeshua, Jesus Christ who as a Jew believed in the Only One true God of Israel. Everywhere in the world there are people trying to get those who want to believe in that One God of Israel and in His son to become confused and to come to accept that what seems to be believed by the majority of Christians, but is therefore not the truth. These false teachers try to take, or steal, disciples from inside the congregation of real followers of Christ. Jesus said that apostates are like wolves that eat the sheep. Apostates want to destroy the faith of the members of the congregation and want them to leave the truth. (Matthew 7:15; 2 Timothy 2:18.)

Lots of men concerning the truth have erred on many aspects, and their ideas which are all false often seem more plausible or attractive, because pagan, and so many other people believe in it, like extra internal beings or spirits, good and bad angels, who are inside man and bring them to do good or bad, or so called immortal souls that leave the body after death to go into an other body or into an other space, like heaven, purgatory or a hell by which they think it is a place of torture by eternal fire.

We can see that from among our own surroundings we find people who will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the followers of Jeshua after themselves. {1 Timothy 4:12 Timothy 4:3, 4; 1 John 2:18, 19Acts 20:30} We also can hear that they call themselves Christian, what should mean they should follow the Christ or Jeshua. After Christianity became poisoned by the Trinity doctrine in Christendom also came more and more different groups and/or sects,+ so that those of them who kept following the teachings of the master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ) who are approved may also become evident.(1 Corinthians 11:19)

The inspired utterance, the Spirit speaks expressly that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. (1 Timothy 4:1) Still today we can see that several people will drop out of the faith, giving their attention to misleading spirits and the teachings of demons. Being fooled by false teachers often in a very clever way. Several tricks are used. Apostates for example can “quietly” bring their ideas into the congregation, like criminals who secretly bring things into a country. Apostates use “counterfeit words.” This means that they say things that make their false ideas sound true, like criminals who make false documents look real. Lots of Christians often twist words of the Bible like when there is written “the son of God” they read or say “god the son”. By twisting such sayings in many passages others start believing what they are saying. Or they use such twisted wording saying “look there it says he is god the son” and here he says “I am” so he must be God. They try to get as many people as possible to believe their “deceptive teachings.” Peter also said that they like twisting the Scriptures. They explain Bible verses in the wrong way to make others believe their ideas. (2 Peter 2:1, 3, 13; 3:16) Apostates do not care about us. If we follow them, we will leave the road to everlasting life.

Often they also try to convince you what they are telling, are things you should believe because they are to difficult for a normal human being to understand. They try to convince people around them that the Trinity is beyond human comprehension and therefore we should accepted like it is. Though it might well be that certain things in Scripture are not always so clear and can not be understood straight away, god is a God of order and clarity and did not make His Word so complicated only scholars could or would be able to understand it. However, some things in them are hard to understand, and these things the ignorant* or those people who then are unlearned and unstable, unsteadfast wrest and come to twist, the same as they do the rest of the scriptures, to their own bane, their own destruction. {2 Peter 3:16}

When hearing people saying there is something written in the Bible, dare to ask them to let it see what is written and be alert yourself, daring to say when they say it is about ‘god the son” and there is written in the bible ‘the son of God’ to point out how they wrongly interpret Scriptures.

In Romans 16:17; 2 John 9-11 clear instruction is given in the Bible.

Romans 16:1: 17 Now I urge you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who create divisions and causes for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them.+ 18 For men of that sort are slaves, not of our Lord Christ, but of their own appetites,* and by smooth talk and flattering speech they seduce the hearts of unsuspecting ones.

2 John 9-11: Everyone who pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God.+ The one who does remain in this teaching is the one who has both the Father and the Son.+ 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your homes+ or say a greeting to him. 11 For the one who says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.

Bombarded by lots of words wanting to have you to believe other things than are written black on white in the Bible you should be fully aware to always compare their sayings with what is written in the Bible. Always remember you must be aware that there are lots of false teachers around but that the simple warning in the bible is:

“Avoid them.”

That means that we have to stay away from them. The warning from the Bible is like a warning from a doctor who tells you to avoid a person who has a disease that may spread to others. The doctor knows that if you get this disease, you will die. His warning is clear, and you will do what he says. The Bible says that apostates are mentally diseased and that they use their teachings to make others think like them. (1 Timothy 6:3, 4) Jehovah is like that good doctor. He clearly tells us to stay away from false teachers. We must always be determined to follow his warning.

 

You always should know that God gave us His Word, the Holy Bible, to come to know Him and to come to understand Him and His Plan. Each person god has given the opportunity to learn about Him and to find guidance to come to Him.
When trusting God and allowing the Word of God come to you like it is written, done away from all the human doctrines, you shall be able to find the Biblical doctrines.

Instead of listening to false teachings that go against the truth in God’s Word, trust God and listen to His Word. (Psalm 31:5; John 17:17) As followers of Christ Jesus we should be careful when it comes to those who attack you and your faith. You always should know the bible itself should be your Guide. You always should have your ear to that Word of God and take the words like they are written in the Holy Scriptures. Listen to God’s Spirit Who is warning you that what certain people are teaching doesn’t sound quite right, then search the Scriptures and judge correctly. God gave you His Spirit to lead you into Truth. Don’t ignore His Spirit, but instead allow the Spirit to guide you today, tomorrow and every day of your life. Never let yourself be discouraged or weakened because you seem to stand alone in your understanding of the Scriptures.

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Preceding articles

Object of first woe

Raising digression

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:21-26 – 1. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:13

Matthew 7:1-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Neighbor Love Continued 7: Matthew 7:1-5 Judgment and neighbor love

Matthew 7:12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Summary on the Torah’s Fulfillment

Matthew 7:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #1 The Narrow Gate and the way to destruction

Matthew 7:15-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #2 False prophets and fruitage

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #3 Matthew 7:21-23 The ones Jesus never knew

Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit

Good or bad preacher

From Bibles and other religious writings and those who witness for Jehovah

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Additional reading

  1. Listening to the lessons of the Bible and looking for ways to please God
  2. Inner voice inside the soul of man
  3. Who Gets to Say What the Bible Says?
  4. God’s forgotten Word 4 Lost Lawbook 3 Early digressions and Constantinic revolution
  5. Leading people astray!
  6. Solstice, Saturnalia and Christmas-stress
  7. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  9. Displeasures and Actions of the Almighty God
  10. Responses to Radical Muslims and Radical Christians
  11. Shariah and child abuse – Is there a connection?
  12. Summer holiday time to knock and ask, and time to share
  13. Responsibility bigger than those who talk about worldly matters

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Further reading

  1. The Blood of Jesus
  2. Fruit FidelityI pray not to fall prey: judging good fruit from the bad
  3. Thessalonian Christians
  4. Beware of False Preachers
  5. 7 Marks of a False Teacher
  6. My experience today with detecting cults / false churches
  7. False Teachers List & False Prophets Exposed
  8. Broken Wolves Masquerading as Sheep
  9. Judging the wolves
  10. False Preachers
  11. True Grace, or False Grace? #1178
  12. The Spirit Abides In Us
  13. The Epistle of Jude: Contend for the Faith
  14. The Shepards, The Goats, The Sheep and The Wolves…
  15. Cookie a day: Can A Christian Believe That Jesus Is Not God And Still Be A Christian?
  16. Is God’s Name Blasphemed Because of You?
  17. Ways to Handle False Teaching
  18. How to Debate False Teachers
  19. My Thoughts On “The Hebrew Roots Movement”
  20. How much error does a false teacher need to exhibit before they’re considered false?
  21. Gary’s Blog This Month on “False Teachers”From Whom Does The Gospel Come From John Calvin Or The Holy Spirit?
  22. From Whom Does The Gospel Come From John Calvin Or The Holy Spirit? (Part 2)<
  23. When our False Evangelical Leaders Met with the Pope…Dirty SpotsBe wise to false teaching
  24. Christian Ghosting: The Destructive Christian Practice We Don’t Talk About By Benjamin L. Corey
  25. A call to feed the sheep<
  26. Can apostates be Christians?
  27. The snake, the sparrow, and the sword
  28. God is our author and our editor
  29. What will the church look like in the last days
    Considering the following Hillsong video, what does it say about the state of the church in these last days, surely this video demonstrates we are witnessing the precursor to the prophesied great falling away

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Related articles

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.
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    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.”

     

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