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Position and power

History of Christianity

1. The early days of Christianity

1.1.       Considered as a danger

1.1.1.  Position and power

The founder of the Christianity, Jesus from Nazareth, the Christ, prayed that between his followers could exist unity (John 17:21), and the apostles really tried to keep the unity of the Christian municipality (1 Corinthians 1:10; Jude 17-19), but already in the first century false teachings entered Christianity.

The fact, that the Christians were a closely united body, fresh, vigorous, hopeful, and daily increasing, while the heathen were for the most part a loose aggregation, daily diminishing, made the true prospective strength of the church much greater. But they remained strongly surrounded by all kinds of several pagan belief forms and popular activities which could be sometimes very tempting.

With the years going by, the Christians came to stand for all sorts of trials and persecution.  As the first disciples they draw consolation and encouragement from their meetings.  Consequently the apostle[1] Paul wrote to the Hebrews 10:24, 25: “let us keep paying attention to one another, in order to spur each other on to love and good deeds, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” Those words are much more than a command to come and remain together. They provide a through God inspired standard that counts for all Christian assemblies— and actually for each occasion that Christians come together.

The apostles had been aware that dispute in the belief could lead to vehemently, discord and even enmity. (Acts of the Apostles 23:7-10) The apostles and early inspired men of the first century defended the Christian faith in two ways: verbally (Acts 22.1, Philippians 1.7, 16, 2 Timotheüs 4.16) and by means of literature (1 Corinthians 9.3).
Already in their time the apostles had to warn the followers of Christ for false teachers and wrong teachings which slowly entered the faith already n the first century.

the Conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus...

Conversion of Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus

The apostle John refutes misconceptions of how to live godly in the face of the docetic-gnostic teachers infiltrating the church (1 John 2.1). “For many deceivers have entered into the world, who confess not that Yahshua the Messiah has come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7 KJBPNV) “Because a number of false teachers have gone out into the world, who do not give witness that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Such a one is a false teacher and Antichrist.” (2 John 1:7 BBE)

Peter writes: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1 KJBPNV) “Especially those who follow their old natures in lust for filth and who despise authority. Presumptuous and self-willed, these false teachers do not tremble at insulting angelic beings;” (2 Peter 2:10 CJB)

No one of genuine concern wants to be wrong on what the Bible teaches. Therefore we must be cautious and ready to see all the biblical evidence as slowly or quickly as it is analyzed. In principle, it is what we find in Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians: “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesying. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 KJBPNV)

Abiding in the words of the Gospel (John 8.31-32) we must be patient, hoping to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and let the scriptural facts reveal themselves on their own terms. Some early Christians were lacking that patience and found it not pleasant to give up their old customs. They then became attracted by those who found that it did not matter so much to love so strictly.

As long as the apostles lived, they protected the municipality. The history shows that the early Christians were not concerned by the political matters of the Roman Realm and that they had no prominent class of clergymen. Instead they were all diligent proclaimers of Gods kingdom. To the end of the first century, they had given testimony in all parts of the Roman Realm and had made disciples in Asia, Europe and North-Africa. (Colossians 1:23). These performances in the preaching meant however not that it was not longer necessarily to remain spiritually watchful. Jesus predicted coming lay yet far in the future.

Sects had to be avoided, since they belonged to the works of the meat (Galatians 5:19-21). Christians were admonished to promote no sects neither to let them self bring on a wrong track by false teachers (Acts of the Apostles 20:28; 2 Timothy 2:17, 18; 2 Peter 2:1). In his letter to Titus the apostle Paul commanded that a man who after a first and a second serious admonition continued to promote a sect, had to become rejected, what apparently meant that he must become rejected from the municipality (Titus 3:10). Those who refused to become involved by the causing of disunion within the municipality or by the supporting of a particular party, would distinct themselves through their faithful walk and give a token to own Gods approval. This was what Paul apparently meant when he said to the Corinthians: “For there must be also factions or sects among you, that they that are approved may be made manifest among you.” (1 Corinthians 11:19).

The Christians kept high principles of morality and probity, and with fiery diligence made the message of hope known. Thousands left Judaism and accepted Christianity (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 6:7). In the eyes of the Jewish religious leaders Jesus’ followers were unfaithful or apostate.  (Acts of the Apostles 13:45.) These furious leaders were of opinion that Christianity annulled their traditions. Yes, it denied even the view that they had on heathen! From 36 C. T. a heathens could become Christian and believe and hope in the same privileges as Jewish Christians. (Acts 10:34, 35).

Because of their high morality beginnings and the holding fast on to their belief conviction on more than one issue superior the Christians in the Roman world became not loved. Their separateness of the world (Johannes 15:19) triggered aversion. They did not take up political office and refused military service. As consequence of this they “became proposed as men that were dead for the world, and useless for all matters of life”, according to the historian August Neander. Not being part of the world, meant also to avoid the godless ways of the Roman world. “The small Christian-communities disturbed the pleasure making pagan world with their piety and decency”, explains the historian Will Durant (1 Petrus 4:3, 4). By pursuing and bringing the Christians before court perhaps the Romans tried to bring well the tormenting voice of the conscience till silence.

Extent of the Roman Empire from 133 BC unto 117 AD

Extent of the Roman Empire from 133 BCT unto 117 CT

The first-century Christians preached the good news of God’s kingdom with unshakable diligence (Matthew 24:14). About 60 C. T. Paul could say that the good news’ was preached in whole the creation that under the heaven is ‘(Colossians 1:23). At the end of the first century, Jesus’ followers had made supporters and disciples in the whole Roman Realm — in Asia, Europe and Africa! Even some members of “the house of Caesar” became Christians (Philippians 4:22). This diligent preaching woke resentment.  Neander says:’ Christianity steadily progressed under lay men from all forms of population and threatened to bring the state religion to fall.’ You can imagine how considerably important it really could be to let men infiltrate to let bring them on other thoughts.

Jesus’ followers offered Jehovah exclusive devotion (Matthew 4:8-10). Perhaps this aspect of their adoration brought them more than what else in conflict with Rome. The Romans were tolerant to other religions, as long as their supporters also participated at the emperor adoration. The early Christians normally could not participate at such adoration. They looked at themselves as people, that were due account at an authority that was higher, than that of the Roman state, namely Jehovah God (Acts 5:29). As a consequence of this a Christian became, though he was further in such a way in all respects such an exemplary citizen, considered as an enemy of the state.

There was yet another reason, about which faithful Christians in the Roman world became “objects of hatred”: Common backbiting over them was believed stylus, accusations, for which the Jewish religious leaders were in not small extent responsible, (Acts 17:5-8). About 60 or 61 C. T., when Paul waited in Rome for his trial by emperor Nero, prominent Jews said over Christians: “Really, what concerns this sect, it is us known that she experiences everywhere arguments” (Acts 28:22). Nero would certainly have heard defamatory stories over them. In 64 C. T. he chose, when he was held responsible for the fire that Rome afflicted, according to reports to use the already everywhere slandered Christians as scapegoats. This appears to have brought on a wave of violent persecution that had as target to exterminate the Christians.[2]

The false accusations that were brought in against the Christians were often based on a mixture of straight lies and a twist of their belief views. Because they were monotheistic and not adored the emperors, they were labelled as atheists. Because some non-Christian family members revolted with their Christian family members, they became accused to disrupt their family (Matthew 10:21). They were constituted for cannibals, an accusation that was based according to some sources on a twisting of the words that Jesus had uttered during the Last Supper. (Matthew 26:26-28).

Towards the end of Nero’s reign the Christians were required, under the heaviest penalties, even that of death, to offer sacrifices to the emperor and to the heathen gods. After the death of Nero the persecution ceased, and the followers of Jesus enjoyed comparative peace until the reign of Domitian, an emperor little behind Nero in wickedness.

The dispersion of the Jews, and the total destruction of their city and temple in 70 C.T., are the next events of consideration in the remainder of the first century. The numbers that perished under Vespasian in the country, and under Titus in the city, from A.D. 67-70, by famine, internal factions, and the Roman sword, were one million three hundred and fifty thousand four hundred and sixty, besides one hundred thousand sold into slavery.[3]

Domitian,” says Eusebius, the father of ecclesiastical history, “having exercised his cruelty against many, and unjustly slain no small number of noble and illustrious men at Rome, and having, without cause, punished vast numbers of honourable men with exile and the confiscation of their property, at length established himself as the successor of Nero in his hatred and hostility to God.”[4] He also followed Nero in deifying himself. He commanded his own statue to be worshipped as a god, revived the law of treason, and surrounded himself with spies and informers to bring a second persecution of the Christians.

Christianity, in spite of Roman emperors, and Roman prisons, and Roman executions, pursued its silent steady course. In little more than seventy years after the death of Christ, it had made such rapid progress in some places as to threaten the downfall of paganism.

Artemis Apollon Herakles

Artemis Apollon Herakles

Christians got the hatred of pagan worshippers on their neck. As the making of small silver temples of the goddess Artemis was a profitable business in the old Ephesus. But when Paul preached over there, a considerable number Ephesians reacted positively to his preaching and turned for this purpose their back to the adoration of Artemis. Now their trade was threatened, caused the silver blacksmith a tumult (Acts 19:24-41).  Something similar did happen after Christianity had expanded itself until Bithynia (now Northwest-Turkey). Not long after the Christian Greek Writings were finished, the ruler of Bithynia, Pliny the Younger, informed that pagan temples became left and the sale of feed for offering animals drastically collapsed. The Christians were blamed — and were prosecuted — because in their adoration there was no place for animal offerings and idols (Hebrew 10:1-9; 1 Johannes 5:21). It is clear that the spread of Christianity practiced influence on particular established interests connected with pagan adoration, and, those who as consequence of this lost as well trade as earnings, fumed about this.

By the progress of Christianity the temporal interests of a great number of persons were seriously affected. This was a fruitful and bitter source of persecution. The heathen temples became more and more deserted, the worship of the gods was neglected, and victims for sacrifices were rarely purchased. This naturally raised a popular cry against Christianity, such as the one at Ephesus: “This, our craft is in danger to be set at nought, and the temple of the great goddess Diana to be despised.”

goddess of hunting

Diana goddess of hunting

A countless throng of priests, image-makers, dealers, soothsayers, augurs, and artisans, found good livings in connection with the worship of so many deities. All these, seeing their craft in danger, rose up in united strength against the Christians, and sought by every means to arrest the progress of Christianity. The cunning priests and the artful soothsayers easily persuaded the vulgar, and the public mind in general, that all the calamities, wars, tempests, and diseases that afflicted mankind, were sent upon them by the angry gods, because the Christians who despised their authority were everywhere tolerated.[5] They invented and disseminated the vilest calumnies against everything Christian and laid many and grievous complaints against the Christians before the governors. This was especially so in the Asiatic provinces where Christianity was most prevalent.The First Christians naturally withdrew themselves from the pagans and became a separate and distinct people and held their meetings secretly. They could not but condemn and abhor polytheism, as utterly opposed to the one living and true God, and to the gospel of His Son Jesus Christ; this gave the Romans the idea that Christians were unfriendly to the human race, seeing they condemned all religions but their own. Hence they were called “Atheists,” because they did not believe in the heathen deities, and derided the heathen worship.[6] But that confinement of that pagan population seemed not always even easy.


[1] “apostle” signifies one “sent forth.”

[2] In the month of July A.D. 64 a great fire broke out in the Circus, which continued to spread until it laid in ruins all the ancient grandeur of the imperial city. The flames extended with great rapidity, and Rome being a city of long narrow streets, and of hills and valleys, the fire gathered force from the winds, and soon became a general conflagration. In a short time the whole city seemed wrapped in one sheet of burning flame.

[3] Dean Milman’s History of the Jews, vol. 2, book 16, page 380

[4] Roman History, Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 19, page 406

[5] Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History, vol. 1, page 67. Cave’s Primitive Christianity; early chapters

[6] Christian worship, in true simplicity, without the aid of temples and priests, rites and ceremonies, is not much better understood now by professing Christendom than it was then by pagan Rome. Still it is true Today a lot of name Christians want also to see priests in special clothes and services with offerrings, incense and symbols in temples or special church buildings. Instead of knowing that “God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

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Persecution of Christians under Nero > Bible-history Nero

The Institutions behind the Terms in the 1st Century

First Century of Christianity

History of Christianity

1. The early days of Christianity

1.1. First Century of Christianity

When Jesus walked around on this World he talked about the Word of God which was given to men by the writings in the Holy Books. During his whole mortal life on earth, including the two or three years of His active ministry, Christ lived as a devout Jew, Himself observing, and insisting on His followers observing, the injunctions of the Law (Matthew 23:3). The sum of His teaching, as of that of His precursor, was the approach of the “Kingdom of God”, meaning not only the rule of righteousness in the individual heart (“the kingdom of God is within you” — Luke 17:21), but also the Church (as is plain from many of the parables) which He was about to institute.[1]

the Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel of Matthew - Image by humberpike via Flickr

For years many people had studied those book rolls. His disciples, the apostles wrote down the account of Jesus life and of the things they did to have Jesus be know in the world. Their letters were read by many and a lot of followers of Christ, known as the movement of the Israelitish sect The Way, studied those writings of the apostles. For them the whole history of the Jews as detailed in the Old Testament was something they had to share with next generations. When read in the light of other events it was for them to be a clear though gradual preparation for the preaching of Christianity. The new religion which came into existence after Jesus death and after the day of Pentecost, A.D. 29, was at first wholly confined to the synagogue, and it votaries had still a large share of Jewish exclusiveness; reading the Law, practising circumcision, and worshipping in the Temple, as well as in the upper room at Jerusalem.

For a long time Christianity regarded itself as part of Judaism. The apostles were like Jesus Jews and they considered themselves still Jews. The followers of Christ and the ones who became students of the teachings of Jesus the Nazarene and became baptized were considered to have become partakers of some communion, of the body of Christ. They had their centre in Jerusalem[2] the town God promised to His people.

In the first century the disciples were relatively small in number. Their Leader, Jesus, had been executed as an alleged rebel. Initially those supporters of the Jew Jesus were yet contemplated as part of the Jewish religion, that was fixed in the saddle and had in Jerusalem her realm splendour temple where they also could go to.

The first Christian municipality in the world history consisted of natural Jews and proselytes and became set up in 33 C. T. in Jerusalem. With Pentecost 33 C. T. several Jews found in Jerusalem came from Cappadocia and from Pontus (Acts 2:9). It can be that some of these Jews from Pontus that heard Petrus’ speech, became Christians and returned to their own territory. Probably Christianity spread itself to Cappadocia as a result of the present Cappadocians, and Petrus his first letter (ca. 62–64 C.T.) became directed at them and at “the temporary inhabitants” that were dispersed in Pontus and in other regions of Small-Asia.(1Petrus 1:1).

In the first century everywhere there were founded Jewish communities in the surrounding pagan nations. Those communities had synagogues where people regularly assembled to hear the Scriptures being read aloud and being discussed. Accordingly early Christians were in the position to build on the religious knowledge those men already owned (Acts 8:28-36; 17:1, 2).

Slowly the Good News of the Kingdom of God became more scattered self and the supporters of Jesus Christ under divine leadership came to be known as Christians. This term became used for the first time in Syrian Antioch, from which Barnabas and Paul, accompanied by Johannes Markus, begun at their first mission trip. (Acts 11:26).

Real Christians did their extreme best to bring around this Good News that a notion contained about the saint secret in “whole the creation that is under the heaven” to preach (1Corinthians 2:1; Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 1:23; 4:3, 4). The apostles and the other first Christians gave in this respect a clear example.  In Acts of the Apostles 5:42, we read over their activity: ” And every day, in the Temple and privately, from house to house, they went on teaching and preaching the glad tidings that Jesus is the Christ and the good news.”

The book of the Acts of the Apostles let us see that solidarity for the first Christians formed an important part of their adoration. We read there: ” And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and unanimously breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. And they praised God and stood at the entire people in the favour, those that were saved eating their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” (Acts 2:46, 47).

Also the apostle Paul asked to hold on unanimously to the religious belief. “Let we without wavering hold on to the public profession of our hope, for he that has promised, is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). For him and the other apostles it was clear that this public notification was not limited till expressions during meetings of the municipality (Psalm 40:9, 10). A prophetic command to preach outside the municipality, until the nations, can be found in the words of Psalm 96:2, 3, 7, 8, 10: ” Proclaim day after day the good news of the rescue through Him (Jehovah). Make under the nations His magnificence known. Give unto Yahweh/Jehovah, O you kindreds of the people, give unto Yahweh/Jehovah glory and strength. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. Give Adonai Jehovah the glory due to His name; bring an offering, and enter his courtyards. Say to the nations:’ Jehovah self became king.'” And indeed Jesus in Matthew 28:19, 20 and Acts 1:8 gave Christians this command to preach to all nations.

On this public preaching Paul points in his further words to the anointed Hebrew Christians: “Let we through mediation of him always continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to The God -that is, the fruit of lips confessing his name openly. (Hebrews 13:15). The book Revelation shows us that also the “large multitude” that from all nations has been brought together, exists of people that with a loud voice exclaim: “Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9, 10).

Christ had often gathered with his disciples to give instructions and to feed them spiritually. After his death his pupils continued this tradition. His followers came together, as on the Pentecost in 33 C. T., when the Holy Spirit was poured out on those who were together. (Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4). The first Christians preferred to gather, mostly in small groups, regularly either in each other’s house or in the synagogue to come together to study the Word of God. It was for the first Jewish Christians not difficult to hold orderly, teachable bible study meetings, for the ground patron they had in the synagogues with which they were acquainted. The fundamental characteristics of the synagogue services became a taken over by the Christians for their meetings, where one read the Scriptures aloud, explained them, encouraged each other, prayed and praised God. (1 Corinthians 14:26-33, 40, Colossians 4:16). Sometimes “a considerable multitude” was present at their meetings (Acts 11:26).

As in the Jewish synagogue there was in the Christian municipality also no separate hierocracy neither a clergyman who had to say everything. In the synagogue every pious Jew took an active part in reading aloud and having time to explain. So also in the Christian municipality it was expected from everybody that these contributed to the meeting and all had to do a public notification and to each exhort each other to love and excellent works, but this had to happen in an orderly manner (Hebrews 10:23-25). In the Jewish synagogue the women taught not and exercised no authority over men; at the Christian assembly did they do neither. One Corinthians chapter 14 contain instructions for the meetings of the Christian municipality, and there it seems that there was some similarity with the course of affairs in the synagogue. (1 Corinthians 14:31-35; 1Timotheus 2:11, 12).

Just as there was no difference in the early Church on the territory of the responsibility to spread the gospel in all possible manners, no difference existed between full-time servants and lay people, so there was in this respect also no difference between the sex. It was firmly established that each Christian had been called to be a witness of Christ, not only through means of his way of life, but also with his lips. Everybody had to be an apologist or defender of the belief, at least in that extent that he was prepare to give a good exposition of the hope that he owned. And this went also for the women.  They had quite a large share at the promotion of Christianity.

Reports of the early church form the proof that they literally took up the gospel preaching not only serious but also literally. Even simplest members were messengers that spread the truth. The history shows how the first Christians, although they were respectful, order loving citizens, determined to be “no part of the world” continued without hesitating their preaching work, even when it brought violent persecution over them.

Christianity grew naturally from within by the sincerity of devout adherents of Jesus Christ. It attracted people by its very presence and by the character of the rest and peace which was over those followers of Jesus. While there were no professional missionaries devoting their whole life to this specific work, every congregation was a missionary society, and every Christian believer a missionary, inflamed by the love of Christ to convert his fellow-men. The example had been set by Jerusalem and Antioch, and by those brethren who, after the martyrdom of Stephen, “were scattered abroad and went about preaching the Word.” (Acts 8:4; 11:19). Fuller, and workers in wool and leather, rustic and ignorant persons, were the most zealous propagators of Christianity, and brought it first to women and children.[3] Women and slaves introduced it into the home-circle. It was the glory of the gospel that was preached to the poor and by the poor to make them rich. Origen informs us that the city churches sent their missionaries to the villages. Every Christian told his neighbor, the laborer to his fellow-laborer, the slave to his fellow-slave, the servant to his master and mistress.

The gospel was propagated chiefly by the way of living, preaching and by personal intercourse; to a considerable extent also through the sacred Scriptures, which were early propagated and translated into various tongues, the Latin (North African and Italian), the Syriac (the Curetonian and the Peshito), and the Egyptian (in three dialects, the Memphitic, the Thebaic, and the Bashmuric). Communication among the different parts of the Roman empire from Damascus to Britain was comparatively easy and safe. The highways built for commerce and for the Roman legions, served also the messengers of peace and the silent conquests of Christianity. Commerce itself at that time, as well as now, was a powerful agency in carrying the gospel and the seeds of Christian civilization to the remotest parts of the Roman empire.

Although different caesars governed as tyrants, the laws in the first century made it possible usually to defend and to affirm legally the good news. (Philippians 1:7).


[1] Origin of Christianity and its relation with other religions, Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York 1908

[2] Irenæus, “Adversus Hæreses, i. 26

[3] Celsus

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  • What Were The Early Believers Called: HaDerech (The Way), The Natzari Sect, Netzerim-Natzraya, Jessaeans, Essene’s, Saducee’s, Christians or Nasaraeans? What Is There Place In Middle Judiasm? (paradoxparables.wordpress.com)
    The Nazarenes-Netzerim-Natzraya is the title that the early church gave themselves. The Talmud actually refers to them a few times. The Twelth prayer in the Amidah added by Gamiliel II was add against the Sectarians, the Sect of the Nazarenes-Netzerim-Natzraya. In the Talmud the early Messianic believers we’re called Saducee’s, and Essene’s at times even Netzerim-Natzraya. Rashi did a job of restoring the title Netzerim-Natzraya where it had been removed.
  • Also Earliest (pre-Christian) Nazarenes: Pliny the Elder’s evidence and Earliest Nazarenes: Evidence of Epiphaniusdiscuss the name given to the followers of the Jew Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who were therefore called the Nazarenes. For this group did not name themselves Christians or with Jesus’ own name, but “Nazoraeans.”(“Panarion 29″ by Epiphanius) They also came to be called “Jessaeans” for a short while, before the disciples began to be called “Christians” at Antioch. Also today we still can find the non-trinitarian denomination of the “Friends of the Nazarene”.”While treating the name of the sect, we may deal here with a short notice by Pliny the Elder which has caused some confusion among scholars. In his Historia Naturalis, Book V, he says: We must now speak of the interior of Syria. Cœle Syria has the town of Apamea, divided by the river Marsyas from the Tetrarchy of the Nazerini; Bambyx, the other name of which is Hierapolis, but by the Syrians called Mabog. This was written before 77 A.D., when the work was dedicated to Titus. The similarity of the name with the Nazerini has led many to conclude, erroneously, that this is an early (perhaps the earliest) witness to Christians  (or Nazarenes) by a pagan writer. Other than this, be it noted, there is no pagan notice of Nazarenes.” “… Can Pliny’s Nazerini be early Christians? The answer depends very much on the identification of his sources, and on this basis the answer must be an unequivocal No. It is generally acknowledged that Pliny drew heavily on official records and most likely on those drawn up by Marcus Agrippa (d. 12 B.C.). Jones has shown that this survey was accomplished between 30 and 20 B.C. Any connection between the Nazerini and the Nazarini must, therefore, be ruled out, and we must not attempt to line this up with Epiphanius’ Nazoraioi. One may, however, be allowed to see the Nazerini as the ancestors of today’s Nusairi, the inhabitants of the ethnic region captured some seven centuries later by the Moslems. …” (Neil Godfrey)
    “… everyone called the Christians Nazoraeans, as they say in accusing the apostle Paul, “We have found this man a pestilent fellow and a perverter of the people, a ring-leader of the sect of the Nazoraeans.” (3) And the holy apostle did not disclaim the name – not to profess the Nazoraean sect, but he was glad to own the name his adversaries’ malice had applied to him for Christ’s sake. (4) For he says in court, “They neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, nor have I done any of those things whereof they accuse me. But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I, believing all things in the Law and the prophets .””

Bible guide

Taking the Bible as a lead

In Jesus days people came together in the synagogue but also in their homes to study the rolls of the holy writers. For them it was clear that God had given these people the power and facilities to write down Gods Word. For the followers of Christ it was clear that they had to take the stories about Christ Jesus and the writing of his apostles also into account. The books of the Old time received a brother in the writings of the new time, after Jesus his resurrection. The Old and New Testament became the two pillars of educational material to build up faith and to keep to the Commandments of God.

Enthusiast followers of Jesus took the time to come to study these writings, which we know now as the Bible. They felt united in holding that the sacred Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are inspired and are the final authority for authentic truth. They did not doubt the countenance of these writings and knew that if they prayed to God they also would receive guidance to follow and to comprehend them. They followed the rules of the Scriptures and wanted to establish their beliefs and faith in beliefs that harmonize all scriptures on each subject. The apostles had warned them to be careful not be carried away by worldly thoughts and that they should not make non-scriptural words to an article of faith.

In the early times of this time account, some had seen that Jesus was wholly flesh while on earth. While Jesus was miraculously begotten by God through the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, they accepted that the Bible implies that she did not remain a virgin thereafter and many of the early Christians had met the other children by Joseph after the birth of Jesus. One of Jesus brothers had followed and believed in him. The people around Jesus could witness him. They had witnessed or heard about the many miracles, and about the most curious event, namely that this holy man had been raised from death. But there were also many who had nothing seen and by the growing years had nobody in their circles who had met people who had known Jesus in real life. They had to believe without seeing.

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Preaching Jesus

Studying the Bible those people interested in the Word of God were fully convinced that this Nazarene Jew by his death had brought them salvation. They knew that man is mortal by nature, and that immortality became available now, but only by meeting conditions of obedience. They held, as we hold today, that the human soul is not a distinct entity, but is the result of the union of the body and the breath, or spark, of life, and that death is the dissolution of these two elements. Jesus had died, been put in the grave, but after his resurrection had gone up to his Father to which he always stayed humble. Jesus always had pointed out to his Father as the One who did everything and to whom we had to give honour. Therefore they did not accept the position of co-eternity or co-equality between the Father and the Son. But they were pleased that since his resurrection Jesus had received the divine nature and could be the mediator between them and God.

Believing that Adam and Eve were created perfect, the believers position is that the sin of disobedience in the Garden of Eden resulted in all their posterity being born under the blight of sin, imperfection, and death. Because death is the dissolution of body and breath, every Bible Student should be aware that the soul that sins dies goes out of existence, and that we cannot escape death and the return to dust and ash. But in Christ Jesus they found the promised Messiah who was going to return. It is he who shall then start the resurrection process which begins in the future kingdom of Messiah. He had given his body as a ransom at the cross of Calvary. This peace offering is efficacious for all who have ever died. It promises resuscitation for all humanity in Christ’s 1000-year kingdom, along with the opportunity to obtain and maintain perfect human life for eternity. The ransom also provides for the rehabilitation of planet earth to perfect Edenic conditions.

From Pentecost onwards many thousands started to look forward to the return of Christ or Second Advent. At his first advent, Jesus had begun calling out from mankind a special class to be his church, or bride. To these he promised a part in heaven with himself and the Father, and a kingdom role of reigning over mankind with himself for blessing all the families of the earth. Those who accept this invitation make a complete consecration or commitment to do the will of God as they see it revealed and at the cost of a surrender of the right to a life on earth. This consecration is witnessed by a baptism (complete water immersion,). The expectation that Jesus Christ would return to finish the work that he began two thousand years ago became an important part of their faith. They followed the advice Jesus and his apostles had given, to study the Word of God and to come regularly together, also to remember the Breaking of the Bread as a sign of the New Covenant.

To organize such meetings they had to find places where they could meet, certainly after they were not welcome any more in the synagogues. In the different villages and small communities small groups were formed. By giving many ‘house parties’ the ‘house churches‘ were formed. Each group selected its leaders (elders and deacons) by a total vote of their consecrated members, and cooperated with other congregations as determined by that local group. But such meetings or gatherings brought also expenses. To cover them they paid entirely by freewill voluntary offerings with no collections of mandated costs.

Also today we as Bible Students want to keep to the ordinances given by God and by Jesus and our ministries are kept according the Biblical ways and serves on a non-paid and voluntary basis.

Many churches

Bible Students in the light of so many churches

People often wonder how it comes that there are so many churches in Christianity. Why does Christendom seems to be so complex and full of different groups with totally different opinions?

Some say there is only one Universal Catholic Church, others say you have three main categories, the Catholics, the Orthodox and the Protestants, some find the two groups Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian as one part of Christianity while others are convinced the Non-Trinitarians are no Christians at all. But others will say that all the different denominations are part of the same body of Christ. You perhaps could say that they are alike in some respects but the differences are real enough. People should notice that there is a difference of teaching between one church and another, and that this difference is sometimes very substantial, even fundamental. Even in certain churches people can find different teachings or ideas and practices which contradict each other. Though all those churches say that they follow Jesus Christ, and some of them also say they follow the Bible. But other denominations say that ordinary people cannot study the Bible because they do not have any theological formation. They do seem to forget that Jesus often rebuked the people of his own day — but never did he rebuke them for reading the scriptures, rather he rebuked them for not acting in accordance with what they read. He explained what was written in the Scriptures and told his apostles to go and preach the gospel, so that people would be aware of what God wanted from them. To know what God wants from us, we do best to study the Word of God, the Bible. That there are so many denominations also come by the fact that there are several churches which prefer to keep to human traditions and prefer the teachings of philosophical and theological writers, instead of keeping to the Word itself. History shows us how human scriptures became for some churches more important than the 66 books of the Bible. Therefore to understand why there are so many different churches and to find out which way we have to go it is best to know a little bit of the background or history of the Christian Church. When you look at Christendom you can find many influences in Christianity which become crystal clear when placed in context.

A simplified chart of historical developments ...

Derivation of major branches of Christianity

It is important that believers must distinguish between the cultural forms associated with a religious tradition and its “critical edge” which is usually derived from its otherworldly perspective, or from contrasting the ideal life portrayed in its scriptures with the historical practices of different congregations. Allowing for both aspects, religion may be seen as the present day interplay between the past and the future: i.e., between traditional faith and the hope for the future of individuals and their communities. To understand the real value of the differences in the churches we have to look at what happened in the passing of time. History shows how people got influenced by other ways of thinking, other religions, traditions, believes and myths. It shows also how range of practices, organizations and expectations came into existence. History shows also how people grow away from the essence of the Holy Scriptures and why through centuries serious Bible students, Bible Researchers, lay and clerical theologians kept looking for the truth and wanted to go other ways than the most traditional institutional churches.

The essential and central feature of the apostle Peter his writings is that the Scriptures are able to teach men the truth about salvation and that truth is comprehensible by ordinary people. We have to pick up the Word of God, as it is given to us in the Holy Bible and should take it at heart, giving enough time to study it thoroughly. When we read through the Bible we should compare what is written there with what so many churches proclaim and take lessons from that. To come to a good non biased Bible study we should have an open mind and have no preconceived ideas, seeking in its pages support for doctrines already formulated from other sources. We should not be blind to see that doctrines are formed or supported on isolated texts without reference to the general teaching of scripture. Very often doctrines tend to be isolated from each other, like parcels tied up separately, and the final and logical outcome of their teaching is not looked at penetratingly. So the discrepancies and contradictions are not brought to light. Looking at the history of Christianity we can see that certain churches have been dominated by particular doctrines upon which more than usual emphasis has been laid, which has resulted in the neglect of other important teaching. The outcome of this has been a dislocated and unbalanced view of Bible truth leading to false conclusions and a disordered conception of salvation.

Today we live in a world of easiness, of “laisser faire”. Many think that the Christian faith cannot be defined in propositions. It is supposed to be too personal and too mystical for that. It is this point of view which encourages so many to say that it does not matter what you believe or which church you join. But in the New Testament we are clearly warned to be very careful. According to the Nazarene Jesus, Christ the Messiah, the way is not easy to stay on, and the gate to go through is quite narrow. In the New Testament is said that the Church should be “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3: 15). There is a solemn duty laid on every believer to ensure that their faith and their church is built on that true foundation, as it is revealed in the Bible.

Looking at the History of Christianity we shall be able to notice that a lot went wrong because people did not stay with the word of God, but looked more at other religions and traditions. The other problem was also that there have always been prominent teachers in Christendom who said people would not be able to understand what is written in the Bible and even worse teachers who denied Bible teaching about God and His purpose. They explained away the reality of Christ’s resurrection, and throwed doubt upon the authority of God’s word, and watered down His commandments.

When we look at the history of Christianity we shall be able to see that we ought not to be too impressed by the credentials of the ‘scholar’. Where scholarship is faithful to God’ s word and helps us to understand it better we ought to be grateful for it, but the Bible never suggests that human cleverness is the passport to divine knowledge. Instead it tells us that the truth unveils most of her face to those who are humble and of a contrite spirit.

We do hope that in these writings on the net we can go together on the quest to the Truth, and that we are able to convince you that it is important to undertake a thorough study of the Bible, and that you yourself are able to become a good “Bible student”.

Religion and spirituality

Today the church has become simply an unavoidable obligation for some and yet others stopped attending long ago. In a lot of families it is far to look for God. Some call themselves Christian but there is not much to see of. Their way of living does not represent anything in accordance to the teachings of Christ Jesus. Others proclaim that they love Jesus their God while we would say that they love the son of God more than the real and only One God. Because non-trinitarians do not want to accept Christ Jesus as God a lot of so called Christians say they are not Christians, though those non-trinitarian denominations do keep more to the teachings of Jesus than the others.

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments of which the First one is Ubove all love Only One God

We do teach our children who God is and what a marvellous gift He gave us. We show them that they are God’s beloved creation and that their failures are real because there is a real reason for earthly failures and sin.  We get them to know the position of Jesus who really died, while the others who believe Jesus is God seem to forget that the Almighty can not die.

Centuries ago it was because the church leaders were more interested in their power in this world that they went astray of Jesus teachings. Also today those churches are still more interested in the things of the world and do not often bring real Bible studies into their services.
Some Christians say that today, we have the methods of science to take the place of faith and prayer. That we can rely on science now to cure many diseases, extend our lives, solve fertility issues, solve emotional problems and understand how the universe began. For them it is clear that we have begun to see we can rely on ourselves for answers instead of God. As our knowledge doubles every 20 years or so, soon, there will be little left for God to do.
Many new churches have changed to cater to our shifting attitudes and lifestyles. Some say that the church should remain in its traditional form while others embrace this change. Regardless of differing opinions, these contemporary churches are popping up everywhere and they offer everything from espressos and modern rock bands to podcasting and twittering to get your attention. ( http://www.examiner.com/spirituality-in-cincinnati/the-new-face-of-the-modern-day-church#ixzz1QXeezD8R)
Though the Christians have the same patriarch as the Jews and Muslims lots of them forgot the writings and teachings of the next of kin and prophets who followed this mans footsteps. The people of Israel, “The Chosen People,” were singled out by God in order for him to reveal himself to his people and the world and to reveal the path to righteousness.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses are probably the most important figures in the Jewish Bible (Torah).  God had given His blessing but also His Word to the next generations. All could get to know Him by reading the scrolls.
Through Moses a covenant was made between God and his chosen people that should they obey his commands and remain steadfast in their obedienceand love to him, he would remain their God and blessing would pour out upon them. But as can be expected, “The Chosen People” proved to be a rebellious people much like all of humankind.

God has promised his people a messiah that they still wait for today. The Christian’s believe this messiah has already been revealed through Jesus Christ and that he will return again to reclaim his kingdom. But many of the Jewish faith wait patiently for their Messiah. There are several different sects of Judaism that have developed over the years, Hasidism, Orthodox, Reform Judaism and Zionists and some differ in their beliefs about the coming messiah and others differ about the adherence to the laws in this modern society. Whatever sect they choose to belong to, much is to be admired about the Jewish culture and their tenacity and dedication to their identity as God’s “Chosen People.” ( Spirituality and religion part 4 – Cincinnati Spirituality | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/spirituality-in-cincinnati/spirituality-and-religion-part-4#ixzz1QXhLcVg2)
In the first century of our common time table several Jews recognised in Jesus this promised Messiah. They kept considering themselves Jews, as Jesus also was a Jew. Today we find certain churches were they preach that the Jews killed the first Christian, though Jesus was never such a Christian they say a Christian is. The Jew Jesus was persecuted as later on many more Jews were being persecuted. For Jesus as for the Jews in general  God was and is a holy God worthy of all praise and worship. There are  other god’s then the Most High but there is Only One Almighty God of gods Yahweh or Jehovah.Some people think there are many names of that God, but they misinterpret the titles of that One and Only God, Elohim whose name is Jehovah.
Though there is a rich history in disagreement between the varying sects of Judaism, there is an equal amount of dedication shown to their faith. Judaism is also the only faith that does not seek to bring in new members. ( Spirituality and religion part 4 – Cincinnati Spirituality | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/spirituality-in-cincinnati/spirituality-and-religion-part-4#ixzz1QXjrGysY) But the Jew Jesus found it important that as much people as possible would be brought in front of the Lord of lords. The son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, had come into the world by the Power of God (the Holy Spirit) to save us and to become the mediator between God and men.
The Bahá’í believe that God’s nature cannot truly be known because of our finite knowledge and capacity for understanding God’s infinite nature. But they do believe we can at least see him through his attributes which can be found through his various creations. ( Spirituality and religion part 5 – Cincinnati Spirituality | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/spirituality-in-cincinnati/spirituality-and-religion-part-5#ixzz1QXku1zx0) It are those attributes of God we have to take at heart. They can give us the full picture of the Most High omnipotent. Getting to know the different features of a human being, man, woman, Jesus shall shed a light on the difference to God. Than they shall see that the Bahá’í claim that we all believe in the same one God, though different religions may call him by different names such as Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah and the like is not such a bad claim, and would take away the arguments going into fights between the different groups.

Bridget Niece of the Northern KY Spirituality Examinerw rites that The Christian faith is a label used to indicate an individual’s faith in Jesus Christ.  That faith can take many different forms. She therefore defines Christianity as faith in biblical teachings and belief in the atoning death of Jesus Christ the son of God.  The reason this definition is necessary is that there are some who claim to be Christians who do not believe that Jesus is the son of God or that he was much more than a prophet at all.  That does not define a Christian and would require a different title.  There are enough variations within the biblical faith of Christianity to fill ten articles, let alone one.

Be strong

Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2Ti 2:1 JB2000)

“Now on final matters: Continue to be empowered by YHWH and in the mightiness of His strength.” (Eph 6:10 MHM)
“Continue to remain awake, standing firm in the Faith. Be men! Be mighty!” (1Co 16:13 MHM)
“and shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye draw nigh this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint; fear not, nor tremble, neither be ye affrighted at them;” (De 20:3 ASV)
“for Yahweh your God is he who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”” (De 20:4 WEB)
“Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest.” (Jos 1:7 ASV)
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed: for Jehovah thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Jos 1:9 ASV)
“But be ye strong, and let not your hands be slack; for your work shall be rewarded.” (2Ch 15:7 ASV)
“In the day that I called thou answeredst me, Thou didst encourage me with strength in my soul.” (Ps 138:3 ASV)
“Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; he will come and save you.” (Isa 35:4 ASV)
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard? The everlasting God, Jehovah, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary; there is no searching of his understanding.” (Isa 40:28 ASV)
“but they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa 40:31 ASV)

HOPE from the WORD for the WORLD!

HOPE from the WORD for the WORLD! - Image by Jeanette's Ozpix via Flickr

“Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith Jehovah; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith Jehovah, and work: for I am with you, saith Jehovah of hosts,” (Hag 2:4 ASV)
“Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words from the mouth of the prophets that were in the day that the foundation of the house of Jehovah of hosts was laid, even the temple, that it might be built.” (Zec 8:9 ASV)
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” (1Co 16:13 ASV)
“And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2Co 12:9-10 ASV)
“I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me.” (Php 4:13 ASV)
“strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, unto all patience and longsuffering with joy;” (Col 1:11 ASV)
“Thou therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2Ti 2:1 ASV)
“But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me; that through me the message might me fully proclaimed, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” (2Ti 4:17 ASV)
“And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you.” (1Pe 5:10 ASV)

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