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Posts tagged ‘Judaism’

Introduction to the Septuagint by Siegfried Kreuzer

The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible created by Jews seeking a place of legitimacy for diaspora Jewishness and faith among the traditions of Hellenistic culture, was a monumental religious and cultural achievement.

This Greek Old Testament, in its original form and revised versions, provided the scriptural basis for Judaism in the Greek-speaking diaspora, enabled the emergence and spread of Christianity, and influenced translations of the Bible into African and European languages. Over time, however, the Septuagint’s relevance faded for Jews, and the Hebrew text eventually reasserted its dominance within Judaism. This led many to neglect the Septuagint as an authentic witness to the biblical tradition. But the Septuagint remained important, inspiring biblical writings and further translations into Latin, Coptic, and Armenian. In combination with the Qumran biblical texts, it provides yet further indication of the multivocal state of the Hebrew Bible around the turn of the eras and proves to be a text of continuous interest for biblical scholarship and cultural-historical studies.

Siegfried Kreuzer’s  Introduction to the Septuagint presents, in English, the most extensive introduction of the Septuagint to date. It offers comprehensive overviews of the individual biblical writings, including the history of research, current findings and problems, and perspectives for future research. Additionally, this survey presents a history of the Septuagint in its Greco-Hellenistic background, theories of its genesis, the history of its revisions, its lore in antiquity, and an overview of the most important manuscripts and witnesses of the convoluted transmission history of the text. The text includes extensive bibliographies that show the ongoing interest in Septuagint studies and provide a reliable basis for future studies.

A collaboration representing multiple nationalities, professional perspectives, and denominational traditions, this dependable guide invites newcomers and experts alike to venture into the rich world of one of the most influential works of literature in history.

> Find the book by Kreuzer: Introduction to the Septuagint

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

In the 18th chapter of Matthew we learn that we should humble ourselves. Jesus also tells us we should be open to welcome the ‘innocent” or “young ones’ or “children” and warns us for the dangers of following our temptations.

Woe to the world because of temptations! For it must be that temptations come, but woe to that man by whom the temptation comes! {Matthew 18:7 MEV}

We perhaps can not escape to receive many temptations, but we can avoid falling for them. In our life we shall encounter many times, we ourself doing wrong, but also others doing wrong against us. That shall put us often in a difficult position, having to take a certain attitude against the one who did wrong to us.

In Matthew 6:15, Jesus looked at that situation where we would meet people who did something we did not like or found wrong. Jesus then taught that if we would not forgive men their trespasses, how could we then expect God to be willing to forgive our trespasses?

We should know that others, like ourself, can do wrong. Such wrong doing should not always be done on purpose. And even when it would be, it is up to the follower of Christ to take the first step. Though forgiveness isn’t always easy, the follower of Christ should remember Jesus his example.

The Jews knew about Judaic teachings emphasizing forgiveness for those who have offended. In the Testament of Gad, for example, the writer says

“Love one another from the heart, therefore, and if anyone sins against you, speak to him in peace. Expel the venom of hatred, and do not harbor deceit in your heart. If anyone confesses and repents, forgive him” (T.Gad 6:3).

When speaking from the heart, others soon shall come to find out what sort of heart you have. A good Jew was required not to have a heart of stone. The example above is sufficient to demonstrate Jews in the first century were not proto-Puritans condemning everyone’s sin, nor were they standing on the street corners with signs damning everyone else to Hell. For the most part, the Judaism of Jesus’s day understood they had received great mercy and grace from God and that the “venom of hatred” does no one any good.

In Jewish teachings it was taught every Jew as a Chosen one of God had to respect any other human being, because each man is created in the image of Gdo and as such as creatures of the Most High Elohim should be respected by a child of God.

It is known that offering mercy and forgiveness is not easy. When Peter asked Jesus

“Lord, how often shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

he probably thought he was being gracious with forgiving 7 times.

Jesus his reply may be astonishing, what a number of times we should forgive: he says seventy times seven which is 490. Even so He means this figuratively. We are to forgive always.

We should look at our Creator Who had to endure the rebellion of man and Who saw man going astray so often, but always was willing to come close again and help man. On many occasions God showed His love for the sinful man. Man should come to see that the Kingdom we strive for is really built on forgiveness.

To be able to forgive there first has to be love. Without love there is no possibility to honestly take the right attitude against the one who did wrong to you. We may not forget that love wipes away many sins. (1 Peter 4:8) Forgiving is covering up. Having to face a multitude of sins in our life we shall have to disregard the offences of others many times. Each time the memories of the wrong resurface, we may need to forgive again and again.

The difficulty we may face is that our emotions do not agree with forgiveness, but then we should think of Christ Jesus who looked at the people around him and knew very well what he had to do to bring salvation over them. Would we do such a thing like Jesus did? Giving our life for an other?

Remember the unending forgiveness God has already given to the disciples, and by extension to all those who are in Christ in the present age. We should come to reflect the unending mercy of the heavenly Father who has already forgiven mankind of all of their sins.

Let’s not hold grudges today and let not our pride being stronger than our humbleness. In a way it requires to be humble to put our own grudges away. Let’s remember that bitterness only destroys the vessel that carries it. Let’s love in spite of our feelings.

Sometimes we have to start all over and forgive again and again. The bigger the hurt or wrong, the harder forgiveness can be. But if Jesus can forgive us of our greatest wrong, then we too should be able to forgive others who have wronged us.

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

And the Pharisees came.

Mark says that they began to dispute, from which we may conjecture that, when they had been vanquished in argument, this was their last resource; as obstinate men, whenever they are reduced to extremities, to avoid being compelled to yield to the truth, are accustomed to introduce something which is foreign to the subject. Though the nature of the dispute is not expressed, yet I think it probable that they debated about the calling of Christ, why he ventured to make any innovation, and why he made such lofty pretensions, as if by his coming he had fully restored the kingdom of God. Having nothing farther to object against his doctrine, they demand that he shall give them a sign from heaven. But it is certain that a hundred signs would have no greater effect than the testimonies of Scripture. Besides, many miracles already performed had placed before their eyes the power of Christ, and had almost enabled them to touch it with their hands. Signs, by which Christ made himself familiarly known, are despised by them; and how much less will they derive advantage from a distant and obscure sign? Thus the Papists of our own day, as if the doctrine of the Gospel had not yet been proved, demand that it be ascertained by means of new miracles.

The Pharisees, together with the Sadducees. It deserves our attention that, though the Sadducees and the Pharisees looked upon each other as enemies, and not only cherished bitter hatred, but were continually engaged in hostilities, yet they enter into a mutual league against Christ. In like manner, though ungodly men quarrel among themselves, their internal broils never prevent them from conspiring against God, and entering into a compact for joining their hands in persecuting the truth.

Tempting. By this word the Evangelists mean that it was not with honest intentions, nor from a desire of instruction, but by cunning and deceit, that they demanded what they thought that Christ would refuse, or at least what they imagined was not in his power. Regarding him as utterly mean and despicable, they had no other design than to expose his weakness, and to destroy all the applause which he had hitherto obtained among the people. In this manner unbelievers are said to tempt God, when they murmur at being denied what their fancy prompted them to ask, and charge God with want of power.

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3. Hypocrites, you can judge.

He calls them hypocrites, because they pretend to ask that which, if it were exhibited to them, they are resolved not to observe. The same reproof applies nearly to the whole world; for men direct their ingenuity, and apply their senses, to immediate advantage; and therefore there is scarcely any man who is not sufficiently well qualified in this respect, or at least who is not tolerably acquainted with the means of gaining his object. How comes it then that we feel no concern about the signs by which God invites us to himself? Is it not because every man gives himself up to willing indifference, and extinguishes the light which is offered to him? The calling of Christ, and the immediate exhibition of eternal salvation, were exhibited to the scribes both by the Law and the Prophets, and by his own doctrine, to which miracles were added.

There are many persons of the same description in the present day, who plead that on intricate subjects they have a good right to suspend their judgment, because they must wait till the matter is fully ascertained. They go farther, and believe that it is a mark of prudence purposely to avoid all inquiry into the truth; as if it were not an instance of shameful sloth that, while they are so eagerly solicitous about the objects of the flesh and of the earth, they neglect the eternal salvation of their souls, and at the same time contrive vain excuses for gross and stupid ignorance.

A very absurd inference is drawn by some ignorant persons from this passage, that we are not at liberty to predict from the aspect of the sky whether we shall have fair or stormy weather. It is rather an argument which Christ founds on the regular course of nature, that those men deserve to perish for their ingratitude, who, while they are sufficiently acute in matters of the present life, yet knowingly and willfully quench the heavenly light by their stupidity.

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Matthew 16:4: A wicked and adulterous nation.

This passage was explained {1 } under #Mt 12:38 The general meaning is, that the Jews are never satisfied with any signs, but are continually tickled by a wicked desire to tempt God. He does not call them an adulterous nation merely because they demand some kind of sign, (for the Lord sometimes permitted his people to do this,). but because they deliberately provoke God; and therefore he threatens that, after he has risen from the dead, he will be a prophet like Jonah. So Matthew at least says  —  for Mark does not mention Jonah  —  but the meaning is the same; for, strictly speaking, this was intended to serve as a sign to them, that Christ, when he had risen from the dead, would in every place cause the voice of his Gospel to be distinctly heard.

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Matthew 16:5. And when his disciples came. Here Christ takes occasion from the circumstance that had just occurred {1 } to exhort his disciples to beware of every abuse that makes an inroad on sincere piety. The Pharisees had come a little before; the Sadducees joined them; and apart from them stood Herod, a very wicked man, and an opponent and corrupter of sound doctrine. In the midst of these dangers it was very necessary to warn his disciples to be on their guard; for, since the human mind has a natural inclination towards vanity and errors, when we are surrounded by wicked inventions, spurious doctrines, and other plagues of the same sort, nothing is more easy than to depart from the true and simple purity of the word of God; and if we once become entangled in these things, it will never be possible for the true religion to hold an entire sway over us. But to make the matter more clear, let us examine closely the words of Christ.

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. Along with the Pharisees Matthew mentions the Sadducees. Instead of the latter, Mark speaks of Herod. Luke takes no notice of any but the Pharisees, (though it is not absolutely certain that it is the same discourse of Christ which Luke relates,) and explains the leaven to be hypocrisy. In short, he glances briefly at this sentence, as if there were no ambiguity in the words. Now the metaphor of leaven, which is here applied to false doctrine, might have been employed, at another time, to denote the hypocrisy of life and conduct, or the same words might even have been repeated a second time. But there is no absurdity in saying, that those circumstances which are more copiously detailed by the other two Evangelists, in the order in which they took place, are slightly noticed by Luke in a manner somewhat different, and out of their proper place or order, but without any real contradiction. If we choose to adopt this conjecture, hypocrisy will denote here something different from a pretended and false appearance of wisdom. It will denote the very source and occasion of empty display, which, though it holds out an imposing aspect to the eyes of men, is of no estimation in the sight of God. For, as Jeremiah (#Jer 5:3) tells us that the eyes of the Lord behold the truth, so they that believe in his word are instructed to maintain true godliness in such a manner as to cleave to righteousness with an honest and perfect heart; as in these words,

An now, O Israel, what doth the Lord require from thee, but that thou shouldst cleave to him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul? (#De 10:12).

On the other hand, the traditions of men, while they set aside spiritual worship, wear a temporary disguise, as if God could be imposed upon by such deceptions; for to whatever extent outward ceremonies may be carried, they are, in the sight of God, nothing more than childish trifles, unless so far as they assist us in the exercise of true piety.

We now perceive the reason why hypocrisy was viewed by Luke as equivalent to doctrines invented by men, and why he included under this name the leavens of men, which only puff up, and in the sight of God contain nothing solid, and which even draw aside the minds of men from the right study of piety to empty and insignificant ceremonies. But it will be better to abide by the narrative of Matthew, which is more copious. The disciples, after having been reproved by our Lord, came at length to understand that he had charged them to be on their guard against certain doctrine. It was plainly, therefore, the intention of Christ to fortify them against prevailing abuses, by which they were attacked on all sides. The Pharisees and Sadducees were expressly named, because those two sects maintained at that time a tyrannical sway in the Church, and held opinions so utterly subversive of the doctrine of the Law and the Prophets, that almost nothing remained pure and entire.

But Herod did not in any way profess to teach; and a question arises, why does Mark class him with false teachers? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and Of The Leaven Of Herod. I reply: he was half a Jew, was mean and treacherous, and availed himself of every contrivance that was within his reach to draw the people to his side; for it is customary with all apostates to contrive some mixture, for the purpose of establishing a new religion by which the former may be abolished. It was because he was laboring craftily to subvert the principles of true and ancient piety, and thus to give currency to a religion that would be exceedingly adapted to his tyranny, or rather because he was endeavoring to introduce some new form of Judaism, that our Lord most properly charged them to beware of his leaven. From the temple of God the scribes disseminated their errors, and the court of Herod was another workshop of Satan, in which errors of a different kind were manufactured.

Thus in our own day we find that not only from Popish temples, and from the dens of sophists and monks, does Antichrist vomit out her impostures, but that there is a Theology of the Court, which lends its aid to prop up the throne of Antichrist, so that no stratagem is left untried. But as Christ opposed the evils which then prevailed, and as he aroused the minds of his followers to guard against those which were the most dangerous, let us learn from his example to make a prudent inquiry what are the abuses that may now do us injury. Sooner shall water mix with fire than any man shall succeed in reconciling the inventions of the Pope with the Gospel. Whoever desires to become honestly a disciple of Christ, must be careful to keep his mind pure from those leavens; and if he has already imbibed them, he must labor to purify himself till none of their polluting effects remain. There are restless men, on the other hand, who have endeavored in various ways to corrupt sound doctrine, and, in guarding also against such impostures, believers must maintain a strict watch, that they may keep a perpetual Passover

with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, (#1Co 5:8).

And as on every hand there now rages an impiety like that of Lucian, {2 } a most pernicious leaven, or rather a worse than deadly poison, let them exercise this very needful caution, and apply to it all their senses.

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Preceding

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 3 Forgiveness and neighbour love

Matthew 13:33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Fermented Whole

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

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Additional reading

  1. What Jesus did: First things first
  2. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  3. Pretense — Is it practiced by people in their approach to God?
  4. Not Really Acknowledging God
  5. Serving yourself, not the Lord
  6. We Must Be Real With God

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Related

  1. A Sign From Heaven In The Toy Aisle
  2. God’s True Feelings About False Religion.
  3. Speak Sound Doctrine
  4. Dogma v Doctrine
  5. Papal Vanity

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love

(#Mt 6:5-13) b) Prayer and neighbor love

|| Luke 11:2-4

MT6:5 “And, when you pray, be not as the hypocrites. For they like to pray standing in religious gatherings and in town squares to be viewed by others.[1] I tell you the truth: They have their full reward! MT6:6 But, you, when you pray, enter your private room and shut the door praying to your Father secretly.[2] And, the Father watching secretly will reward you.[3] MT6:7 But, praying, do not babble many words as the Non-Jews. For they think by uttering many words[4] they will be heard. MT6:8 So, you should not be like them. For The God your Father knows[5] what you need[6] before you ask. MT6:9 So, pray:[7]
Our Heavenly Father,[8]
Let your Name be sanctified.[9]
MT6:10 Let your Kingdom come.[10]
Let your Will take place,[11] as in heaven, also on earth.
MT6:11 Give to us our bread today.[12]
MT6:12 Forgive our debts[13] as we forgive those in debt to us.[14]
MT6:13 Bring us not into temptation[15] but rescue us from evil.[16]

[1] To be viewed by others: Compare Matthew 6:16: appearances. Various renderings: BAS: like the false-hearted men; PHI: like the play-actors; RHM: shine before men; WMS: to attract the attention of people.

1581 Psalter with Rose Warm sunlight streams d...

1581 Psalter with Rose Warm sunlight streams down on this ancient prayer book, bible and psalter, open to the Lord’s Prayer set to music. A rose lies on the open book. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[2] Praying to your Father secretly: See Luke 6:12: privacy. Various renderings: WEY: into your own room; NEB: into a room by yourself; RHM: and fastening thy door; BECK: who is with you when you are alone; PHI: pray to your Father privately; PHI: who sees all private things. Remember that even Jesus on occasion wandered off some distance from his disciples when praying.

The relationship with ‘love your neighbor’ in private prayers rather than a showy display is the affect such hypocritical prayers have on your neighbor. You give the impression you take yourself too seriously and judge your neighbor to be less “spiritual” than yourself. A private prayer in a cafe or restaurant without show is heard just as easily, or more so, by the Father.

[3] The Father watching secretly will reward you: The Nazarene does not explain what this “reward” is, only that it will occur. This requires “faith,” a word only occurring one time in this sermon (Matthew 6:30) and only in reference to his disciples – “little faith.”

[4] Uttering many words: Either “babbling” or “wordy”. Various renderings: GDSP: do not repeat empty phrases; WMS: repeating set phrases; PHI: don’t rattle off long prayers; NEB: do not go babbling on. For thousands of years religious worshippers have resorted to long prayers filled with a multitude of repetitions. Even the Nazarene’s famous prayer (the Lord’s Prayer, or Our Father, pater nostra) has come in for many repetitions though Jesus counseled against that. Some Asian religions use prayer wheels, beads, and flags to continue their repetitions.

[5] Your Father knows: See Matthew 6:32: needs; and, Luke 12:30: Father knows.

[6] What you need: “Needs” not “wants.”

[7] Pray: This most famous prayer outlines what we call Nazarene Principles.

[8] Father: The First Principle. The word “father” occurs 1,180 times in the OT in a family or secular context but less than 15 times in a religious or spiritual relationship. Most of these apply to the Messiah, leaving only a handful with reference to the Saints. The idea is rare in Judaism but “father” occurs 134 times in the Gospel of John. In the Mountain Teachings Jesus uses “your Father” 8 times, “our Father” 1 time, and “my Father” 1 time for a total of 10 occurrences.

Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 1, page 615:

“In the oldest version of this prayer, the invocation reads pater, (dear) Father, and indicates abba as the Aramaic original. This means that when Jesus gave his disciples the Lord’s Prayer, he gave them authority to follow him in addressing God as abba and so gave them a share in his status as Son.”

Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 1, page 617:

“The description of God as Father never refers to any other individual or to mankind in general. To be a child of God is not a natural state or quality.… In Palestinian Judaism of the pre-Christian period the description of God as Father is rare. The Qumran texts provide but a single example.… We have yet to find an example of an individual addressing God as ‘my Father.’… Jesus did not teach the idea that God is the Father of all men.… It must have been nothing short of outrageous that Jesus should make use of the completely unceremonious Aramaic word abba.”

For more information search the words “sons,” “children,” “born,” or “begotten” in a concordance or computer program.

Almost all of Mark’s content is found in Matthew, and much of Mark is similarly found in Luke. Additionally, Matthew and Luke have a large amount of material in common that is not found in Mark.

 Let your Name be sanctified: The Second Principle. The Nazarene does not use the opportunity to incorporate the noma sagrada or Divine Name (YHWH = Jehovah; Exodus 3:15) in his model prayer. Jesus uses the words “your name” with reference to the Father rarely in the Synoptic Gospels. In John the Nazarene uses the expression at John 12:28 and John 17:6, 26. However, he never uses or pronounces YHWH in these contexts. Why? In Jesus’ day the Jews refrained from uttering the name YHWH and substituted Elohim (God) or Adonay (Lord). The Jews never removed YHWH from its nearly 7,000 occurrences in the Old Testament. About the year 1,000 AD Jewish copyists began to incorporate vowel points in YHWH to warn to say God or Lord in its place.

Does the Nazarene ever use YHWH? The Gospel evidence would indicate this could only be when he is quoting the Hebrew Bible. It is now thought that the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, known as The Septuagint (LXX), had YHWH untransliterated in the Greek text. There is a good reason for this. The Greek language cannot convert the Hebrew letters for YHWH. Modern Greek dictionaries use dzehoba or Iekhoba for “Jehovah” but original Greek did not have an “h” as it were, other than a breath sound. Modern Greek attempts to capture the sound of the English pronunciation of the name.

Given the attitude of the Jews what would have happened if Jesus used YHWH in quotes or normal speech? Certainly equal to that misguided accusation that he violated the Sabbath! Yet the Gospels are silent on this. What about private meetings with his disciples when the use of YHWH could not cause a public stir? Compare the lengthy closing words in John chapters 13 to 17. Not once does Jesus use YHWH even though he alludes to the “name” four times.

Given the facts that the Jews do not attack him for violating their understanding of one of the Ten Commandments and the absence of his use in private speeches and prayers, it would seem he respected the Jewish tradition of the time.

This does not minimize the importance of the “Name” as Jesus’ words in his prayer shows. The idea of this sanctification occurs scores of times in the Hebrew Bible. Compare Exodus 3:14, 15 and 6:3.

Various renderings are: TCNT: May thy name be held holy; MOF: thy name be revered; PHI: may your name be honored. For more information on this subject see Nazarene Principles.

[10] Let your Kingdom come: The Third Principle. After the subject of the “Name” in the Hebrew Bible with its 7,000 occurrences of YHWH, the next most important topic is the Kingdom. The Messiah and his “kingdom” are inseparable (Note Psalm 2 and 110 as well as Daniel chapters 2 and 7). In the Nazarene’s teachings there are two “kingdoms”: the Son’s and the Father’s (Matthew 13:41, 42). The “kingdom” here in his prayer is the Father’s.

“Kingdom” is a word used often by the Nazarene. The word occurs 55 times in Matthew, 23 times in Mark, 45 times in Luke and 5 times in John.

When does the Nazarene begin to reign? The Second Psalm is quoted by Peter at Acts 4:24, 25 and Paul at Acts 13:33 and applied to the resurrection and ascension of Christ in the year 33 AD. This was in fulfillment of Psalm 110:1 (Note 1 Corinthians 15:24-28). Daniel chapters 2 and 7 would argue this kingdom’s beginning is during the reign of the “fourth kingdom” or Rome (Daniel 2:44; 7:9-14). Upon his ascension the Nazarene took up his Power as described by Paul at Ephesians 1:20-23.

Upon the Return or Arrival (parousia) of the Son of Man, and his gathering to himself his Saints, there will be a milestone in the King’s rule (Matthew 24:3, 30; John 14:2,3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; Revelation 11:18; 12:10).

[11] Let your Will take place: The Fourth Principle. The “kingdom” is the agency by which the “Name” is sanctified and the “eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:9, 10) or will of the Father is accomplished (Psalm 72; Daniel chapters 2, 7). God’s original purpose was for a global paradise (Genesis chapters 2, 3). His Will has not changed (Isaiah 45:18; 55:11). Messiah and his Saints will rule the earth (Psalms 2, 110; Daniel 7:13, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 5:10; 20:4, 6). The earth will never be destroyed (Psalms 104:5; Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalm 72:8). The City of God will one day descend out of heaven to rule the earth for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4, 6; 21:1-5).

God has a “will” or purpose for “heaven” as Daniel 4:35 shows. This will for “heaven” will be realized by virtue of the Son and the Messiah’s Church (Ephesians 1:10; 3:9, 10 Colossians 1:20).

[12] Give to us our bread today: The Fifth Principle. The first four Principles of the Nazarene’s prayer deal with God, the last three deal with the individual disciple. The first of these, or the Fifth Principle, deals with that necessary bread for each day (Psalm 37:25). This is not “daily bread” but “bread for today.” From the Nazarene’s viewpoint it would be materialistic to pray for tomorrow’s bread (Matthew 6:33, 34).

Various renderings: ALF: our needful bread.

Prayer for “today’s bread” does not guarantee a disciple may not go hungry on occasion. Compare 2 Corinthians 11:27 and Matthew 25:37 (Philippians 4:11-13). Some see the daily offering of loaves at the Temple here.

Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 1, page 251:

“Origen suggested that we should understand it as eip ten ousian (the bread) necessary for existence. It can be supported by reference to Proverbs 30:8 and it reminds us of Exodus 16:4. The Israelites were to gather only so much manna as they needed for ‘the day.’”

[13] Forgive our debts: The Sixth Principle (Luke 11:14). Various renderings: WEY: shortcomings… those who have failed in their duty towards us; PHI: forgive us what we owe to you as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us. Note there is the tax collector’s tone here as earlier in debits, credits and rewards. Not only are financial debts canceled but moral and emotional debts as well (Romans 13:8: owe only love).

Forgiveness is a kissing cousin to agape or that love which has an unselfish, even selfless, interest out of pure motive for others. The word group “forgive” occurs 48 times in the Gospels (1 Corinthians 13:5: log, or, keep account; LOGIZETAI). Such forgiveness cannot be separated from love of neighbor. Such a quality ought to characterize the Nazarene Saint.

[14] Debt to us: This may be moral or emotional indebtedness but it also may be literal monetary debts (Luke 6:34). One of the clearest ways to judge a man is by his wallet and how he uses it in relation to his dealings with others. When it comes to spirituality, the use of money from the standpoint of God separates the men from the boys.

[15] Bring us not into temptation: The Seventh Principle. Various renderings: BAS: let us not be put to the test. This is a subject the Nazarene knows something about (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1; 22:40; Hebrews 4:15). The word group “tempt” occurs 36 times in the Bible and 14 times in the Synoptics, but not once in John. A related word “test” occurs 113 times in the Bible with 11 in the Gospels. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:13.

1 Corinthians 10:13 and James 1:13 are good commentaries on the Nazarene’s words. God does not tempt or test one with evil, so He does not cause a prostitute pass before a man to test him. The Temptation of Christ had two phases: a beginning and an end. At the beginning he was tempted (tested) by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). These tests or temptations dealt with doubt in the word “if,” as well as greed and pride. The later test was manifest at the end of his life beginning in the Garden of Agony and finally, the Tree (Hebrews 4:15). Test or tempt really find their best definition in the word “endurance.”

[16] Evil: Some render the Greek PONERON as either “evil,” “wicked,” or Wicked One, alluding to the Devil (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1).

 

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Preceding articles

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love

Be sound in mind and be vigilant with a view to prayers

Praying is surrendering in all circumstances

Praying and acts of meditation without ceasing

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Additional reading

  1. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  2. If your difficulties are longstanding, try kneeling
  3. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #1 Kings Faith
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  5. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  6. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  7. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  8. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #11 Prayer #9 Making the Name Holy
  9. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  10. Not able to make contact with God because to busy
  11. Give Thanks To God
  12. Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything
  13. Israel, Fitting the Plan when people allow it
  14. Running challenge and the City build by the Most High Maker
  15. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom
  16. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  17. Tapping into God’s Strength by Waiting on Him
  18. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  19. God should be your hope

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Further reading

      1. The Good Neighbor
      2. 7 Habits That Distinguish Believers from Professing Christians (part 4)
      3. Should Christians Meditate?
      4. Are You Praying?
      5. Keep Praying!
      6. My Prayer for 2014
      7. Daily Bible Verse:John 14:6
      8. Jesus, Light of The World Praying the Scriptures through Advent Book
      9. Waiting On God
      10. In All Honesty
      11. Wait for it………….
      12. What Jesus is Praying For (May 12)
      13. Praying in the dark 1
      14. Praying in the dark 2
      15. Bend Your Head so You Can Stand Your Ground
      16. That’s it, I am Angry and I am Praying
      17. praying for hard things
      18. Unmasked
      19. I Believe in Praying ~
      20. Praying Hands
      21. Meditation/Betty’s Verse Of The Day/1-22-14
      22. Why Nothing Is Worth Grieving The Holy Spirit
      23. I’m Praying!
      24. Praying for God Peace ~
      25. Childlike praying
      26. Praying Through
      27. March 16 – Keep on praying
      28. Praying Scripture for strength and courage
      29. Seven lessons from Jesus’ prayer for us all…
      30. “Till death” (NOT)
      31. Kesha Takes the High Road in Powerful New Single, “Praying”
      32. My Personal Prayer
      33. Pray with love in your heart
      34. Today’s Thought: Why We Dare
      35. The Benefits of Praying in Public
      36. Let’s step up our prayer game
      37. Today’s Thought: The Invited Name
      38. Why praying is important
      39. The Bible uses different Facets to convey the meaning of Kingdom of God
      40. The Kingdom Of Heaven And The Kingdom Of God Compared And Contrasted
      41. Shadows of Messiah – Astronomy
      42. Into God’s Kingdom for New Jerusalem
      43. New Jerusalem: God’s House Becomes a City
      44. Christ, God’s House, God’s City, the Earth
      45. New Jerusalem, City of the Living God
      46. New Jerusalem, City of the Living God (2)
      47. The Glory of God
      48. Seek His Kingdom
      49. The Kingdom of God and the Marriage of the Lamb
      50. What Brings Us Near to the Kingdom of God?
      51. The Bilateral Ekklesia vs. The Kingdom of Heaven
      52. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) – Pt. 4
      53. Luke 14:15-24
      54. All Things Are Possible with God
      55. The Power of Prayer
      56. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
      57. “Unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”
      58. Summer in the City of God
      59. Jerusalem Jubilee
      60. The City of the Church
      61. Come let us Grow Together: The City of God
      62. The LORD of hosts is with us
      63. God is within her
      64. There is a River
      65. The City of the Great King
      66. The City of God – The Preface
      67. 66. A City to Come
      68. The Kingdom of Heaven
      69. Protection and Covering
      70. The Kingdom of God

+++

Hellenistic influences

The early days of Christianity

2.1. Hellenistic influences

An ingenious and learned school, formed at Alexandria, had contrived, by a system of allegorical interpretation, to infuse Platonism into the Old Testament, the school at Jerusalem had been growing increasingly rigid, and interdicted any such daring exegesis.

In the first centuries of our current calendar the influence of the Greek culture in the Roman Realm was still noticeable and guarded Greece its cultural inheritance one of the most important universities of the Roman Realm which stood in Athens.

At the Athenian schools also Christians, like Prohæresios, the sophist, were found under its members.

Sophists (sophistēs, meaning “wise-ist, one who does wisdom,” and σοφός, sophós means “wise man”) were a category of traveling teachers who specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching arete — excellence, or virtue — predominantly to young statesmen and nobility. As itinerant intellectuals they taught courses in various subjects, speculated about the nature of language and culture and employed rhetoric to achieve their purposes, generally to persuade or convince others which could be of good use for the youngsters to be able to have their say in the official meetings or ekklèsia (Ecclesia)

Many sophists’ questioned the existence and roles of traditional deities and investigated into the nature of the heavens and the earth, which prompted a popular reaction against them. The attacks of some of their followers against Socrates prompted a vigorous condemnation from his followers, including Plato the most famous student of Socrates, and Xenophon. The sophists became considered greedy instructors who used rhetorical sleight-of-hand and ambiguities of language in order to deceive, or to support fallacious reasoning. according to some the sophist was not concerned with truth and justice, but instead looked for power.

File:PopesixtusII.jpg

The martyrdom of Saint (Pope) Sixtus II and his deacons. Martyre de saint Sixte II et de ses diacres. Cote: Français 185 , Fol. 96v . Vies de saints, France, Paris – 14th century. – Richard de Montbaston et collaborateurs

Sixtus II, or Xystos, who suffered martyrdom in Rome about 258 C.T., also may have studied in Athens and is called “the son of an Athenian philosopher”. But the most noted men who frequented the schools here were Basil from Kæsareia, and Gregory from Nazianzos, about the middle of the fourth century. These schools of philosophy kept paganism alive for four centuries, but by the fifth century the ancient religion of Elevsis and Athens had practically succumbed. In the Council of Nikæa there was present a bishop from Athens. In 529 the schools of philosophy were closed. From that date Christianity had no rival in Athens.[1]

Jesus clearly taught that Jehovah is “the only true God” and that the human soul is mortal. (John 17:3; Matthew 10:28) Yet, with the death of the apostles and the weakening of the organizational structure, such clear teachings were corrupted as pagan doctrines infiltrated Christianity.

A key factor was the subtle influence of Greek philosophy. Explains The New Encyclopædia Britannica: “From the middle of the 2nd century AD Christians who had some training in Greek philosophy began to feel the need to express their faith in its terms, both for their own intellectual satisfaction and in order to convert educated pagans.” Once philosophically minded persons became Christians, it did not take long for Greek philosophy and “Christianity” to become inseparably linked.
As a result of this union, pagan doctrines such as the Trinity and the immortality of the soul seeped into tainted Christianity. These teachings, however, go back much farther than the Greek philosophers. The Greeks actually acquired them from older cultures, for there is evidence of such teachings in ancient Egyptian and Babylonian religions. As pagan doctrines continued to infiltrate Christianity, other Scriptural teachings were also distorted or abandoned.

File:HermesTrismegistusCauc.jpg

Hermes Trismegistus

The question how the Son was related to the Father (Himself acknowledged on all hands to be the one Supreme Deity), gave rise, between the years 60 and 200 C.T. to a number of Theosophic systems, called generally Gnosticism, and having for their authors Basilides, Valentinus, apologist and ascetic Tatian the Syrian or the Assyrian , writer of the Diatessaron (a  prominent Gospel harmony) and other Greek speculators.[2] According to some, it was through Gnosticism that pagan influences slipped into Christian worship. Gnosticism, they assert, served somewhat as a bridge between paganism and Christianity.[3] The Gnostic systems revealed more theosophy than theology and in the Jewish Kabbala is found a theosophy mixed with various forms of magic and occultism. The Kabbalah, which includes the tracts named Sefer Yetzirah, The Zohar, Pardes Rimonim, and Eitz Chaim, seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ontological questions. It also presents methods to aid understanding of these concepts and to thereby attain spiritual realisation.
The Hellenistic main source is the Corpus Hermeticum or the Hermetic Corpus, a collection of texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, which became again of importance in the New Age. Therein astrology and other occult sciences and spiritual renewal are addressed. Trismegistus may be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.

Alexandria was full of Jews, the literary as well as commercial centre of the East, and the connecting link between the East and the West. There the largest libraries were collected; there the Jewish mind came into close contact with the Greek, and the religion of Moses with the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. There Philo wrote, while Christ taught in Jerusalem and Galilee, and his works were destined to exert a great influence on Christian exegesis through the Alexandrian fathers.

During the fourth century Egypt was going to give to the church the Arian heresy, the Athanasian orthodoxy, and the monastic piety of St. Antony and St. Pachomius, which spread with irresistible force over Christendom.

The theological literature of Egypt was chiefly Greek. Most of the early manuscripts of the Greek Scriptures — including probably the invaluable Sinaitic and Vatican MSS. — were written in Alexandria. But already in the second century the Scriptures were translated into the vernacular language, in three different dialects. What remains of these versions is of considerable weight in ascertaining the earliest text of the Greek Testament.

To the Jews, that were the mostly receptive for Hellenic influences, belonged the priests. For many of them meant the accepting of the Hellenism a manner to have Judaism going with its time.

While many Jews accepted the Hellenism, a new group calling themselves Hasidim or Chassidim — devout people (literally “loving kindness”, diverted of the Hebrew חסידות (chassidoet), meaning “piety”) — encouraged people to keep stricter obedience to the Law of Moses. The first group of Hasidim, also called the Assideans or Hasideans (the Anglicized form, derived through the Greek asidaioi, of the Hebrew Hasidim, “the pious”, men endowed with grace (Psalm 39:5; 148:14)), were an ancient Jewish sect that developed between 300 B.C.E. and 175 B.C.E. They were the most rigid adherents of Judaism in contradistinction to those Jews who were beginning to be affected by Hellenistic influences. The Hasidim led the resistance to the Hellenizing campaign of Antiochus IV of Syria, and they figured largely in the early phases of the revolt of the Maccabees or Machabees, Jewish family of the 2d and 1st cent. B.C.E. that brought about a restoration of Jewish political and religious life. They are also called Hasmoneans or Asmoneans after their ancestor, Hashmon. Their ritual strictness has caused some to see them as forerunners of the Pharisees. Throughout the Talmudic period numerous figures were referred to as Hasidim. [4]

The Hellenization of the Jews in the pre-Hasmonean period was not universally resisted. Generally, the Jews accepted foreign rule when they were only required to pay tribute, and otherwise allowed to govern themselves internally. Nevertheless, Jews were divided between those favoring Hellenization and those opposing it, and were divided over allegiance to the Ptolemies or Seleucids. When the High Priest Simon II died in 175 BCE, conflict broke out between supporters of his son Onias III (who opposed Hellenization, and favored the Ptolemies) and his son Jason (who favored Hellenization, and favored the Seleucids). A period of political intrigue followed, with priests such as Menelaus bribing the king to win the High Priesthood, and accusations of murder of competing contenders for the title. The result was a brief civil war. The Tobiads, a philo-Hellenistic party, succeeded in placing Jason into the powerful position of High Priest. He established an arena for public games close by the Temple. (Ginzberg, Lewis. “The Tobiads and Oniads.”. Retrieved 2007-01-23. Jewish Encyclopedia.) Author Lee I. Levine notes, “The ‘piece de resistance’ of Judaean Hellenization, and the most dramatic of all these developments, occurred in 175 BCE, when the high priest Jason converted Jerusalem into a Greek polis replete with gymnasium and ephebeion (2 Maccabees 4). Whether this step represents the culmination of a 150-year process of Hellenization within Jerusalem in general, or whether it was only the initiative of a small coterie of Jerusalem priests with no wider ramifications, has been debated for decades.” (Levine, Lee I. Judaism and Hellenism in antiquity: conflict or confluence? Hendrickson Publishers, 1998. pp. 38–45. Via “The Impact of Greek Culture on Normative Judaism.”)

The ordinary people were disgusted by the Hellenised priests and chose more and more party for the Chassidim. There broke a period of martyrdom when Jews in the whole country were forced to go along or to settle with pagan happenings and offerings or to die.[5]

A gold multiple of “Unconquered Constantine” with Sol Invictus, struck in 313. The use of Sol’s image appealed to both the educated citizens of Gaul, who would recognize in it Apollo’s patronage of Augustus and the arts; and to Christians, who found solar monotheism less objectionable than the traditional pagan pantheon

Constantine (C., Flavius Valerius Constantinus) was during the decline period of the Roman Realm the Big Emperor (306–337 C. T.) and tried to merge Christianity with particular pagan customs and doctrines. He undertook the first steps to make this merger religion as the official state religion. Accordingly Greece became a part of Christendom. He moved the capital of the realm of Rome to Byzantium, which he named in honour of himself Constantinople.

In 321 C. T. Constantine ordained that the Sunday (Lat.: dies Solis, an old title that was connected with astrology and sun worshipping, not Sabbatum [Sabbath] or dies Domini [day of the Lord]) would be a day of rest for everybody, except for the farmers. Constantine moreover placed Sunday under the protection of the State. Constantine speaks not of the day of the Lord, but of the everlasting day of the sun as the believers in Mithras also observed Sunday as well as Christmas.

The winged sun was an ancient (3rd millennium BC) symbol of Horus, later identified with Ra

Belief in the old polytheism had been shaken; in more stolid natures, as Roman Emperor Diocletian, it showed its strength only in the form of superstition, magic, and divination. Probably many of the more noble-minded recognized the truth contained in Judaism and Christianity, but believed that they could appropriate it without being obliged on that account to renounce the beauty of other worships. Such a man was the Emperor Alexander Severus; another thus minded was Aurelian, whose opinions were confirmed by Christians like Paul of Samosata. Not only Gnostics and other heretics, but Christians who considered themselves faithful, held in a measure to the worship of the sun. Constantine cherished this mistaken belief.[6]


[1] Christian Athens, Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York 1908

[2] Arianism., Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York 1908

[3] Notion and characteristics, Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York 1908

[4] In the 18th Century Eastern Europethis movement would be taken up again for the third time by Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer (1698-1760) also known asIsrael Baal Shem Tov as a reaction against overly legalistic Judaism.

[5] S. Lieberman, Hellenism in Jewish Palestine (1962); S. G. Kramer, God and Man in the Sefer Hasidim (1966); A. L. Lowenkopf, The Hasidim (1973).

[6] The original Catholic Encyclopedia

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Some Jews are known to have engaged in non-surgical foreskin restoration in order to join the dominant cultural practice of socializing naked in the gymnasium, where their circumcisionwould have been a social stigma.

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Previous: The early days of Christianity 1.2. Considered as a danger 1.2.2. Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit

Next: The early days of Christianity 2.2.1. Politics and power first priority

  • contemplative political philosophy (acourseaboutnothing.wordpress.com)
    Contemplation has always been at the heart of liberal education.  Contemplation was known as practice, the practice of political philosophy.  All who had intimations of Socrates’ presence and purpose knew it.  Contemplation was (and is) an activity of mind-body.  Athletics (what the Greeks called gymnastics) was no less education than music and the performing arts.  Together these formed an organic whole in the image of a human creature.
  • Local Deities? Mystery Cults and Osiris and Isis. Soul and Spirit. (jamesbradfordpate.wordpress.com)
    Koester says that “The old Greek religion was a religion of city gods”, in which gods were the patrons of cities.  He says on pages 164-165 that “None of these cults would ever claim to be a world religion since the belief that deities were bound to particular holy places was still very much alive.”  But Koester narrates that people moved around and economics, politics, and science became increasingly universal, and so people were becoming dissatisfied with local deities.
    +
    In Christianity, Jesus dies and rises again, whereas it is not said in the myth of Osiris that Osiris was resurrected, but Osiris after his death goes to the realm of the dead to rule, while his son takes charge of this world.
    +
    Koester makes interesting points about the goddess Isis.  For one, he says that the woman in Revelation 12 resembles Isis, which stood out to me, as one who was raised in a denomination that tried to disassociate from the “pagan” elements of the “world’s” Christianity.  Second, according to Koester on page 189, Isis in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses 11.5.1-3 is treated as the “one and only god” and “ruler of the the universe” (Koester’s words).  As I look at the passage itself, there seems to be therein an acknowledgement that other gods exist, but there’s also an affirmation that Isis is “The single form that fuses all gods and goddesses” (the passage’s words).
  • Baptism of Pagan Practices (bythepen.me)
    Mount Carmel was previously a pagan site. In the Old Testament, we see that it was there that Yahwhey and Elijah took on Jezebel and the priests of Baal. Anti-Catholic conspiracy theorists eat this up, of course, but in reality, history has unfolded with Our Lord as the victor. This is just one of the several instances where that ancient serpent has been “crushed by the heel of Our Lady” – one of Christ’s most powerful tools.
    +
    there were bound to have been some parallels of Christian truth among pre-Christian beliefs and rituals. The early Christians were well aware of this and sometimes used it to their advantage in order to convert the pagans. In fact, St. Paul does this very thing in the Acts of the Apostles. I think of Paul as the father of the interpolation tactic described there. Unlike the Twelve, he was well educated in Hellenistic as well as Jewish law and religion, which is why I believe Christ chose him with a special purpose as “Apostle to the Gentiles”. He was a huckleberry who knew his stuff and how to use it to reach them.
  • Ancient Hellenistic Harbor Discovered in Acre, Israel – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
    An ancient harbor where warships may have docked 2,300 years ago has been discovered by archaeologists in the Israeli port city of Acre.The harbor, the largest and most important found in Israel from the Hellenistic period, was uncovered during archaeological excavations carried out as part of a seawall conservation project, the Israel Antiquities Authority said today. Among the finds were large mooring stones incorporated in the quay and used to secure sailing vessels, the IAA said.
    +
    The excavation will continue in those sections of the harbor that extend in the direction of the sea, the IAA said. The archaeologists will try to clarify if there is a connection between the destruction of the harbor and the Hasmonean uprising in 167 B.C., the destruction wrought by Ptolemy in 312 B.C. or some other event.
  • We owe a cock to Asclepius (ins2ition.wordpress.com)
    SO were the final, last Words said by Socrates.
    No one could help by then, Even Hippocrates.
    if YOU’VE said it once you’ve said One thousand times.
    I Don’t only say it because that line rhymes.
  • Live as the world wishes you to and accept all events: Stoic Philosophy (by Devin) (lvv4ublyth.wordpress.com)
    Stoicism was founded in Athens by Zeno in early 3rd century, it was originally taught by him at the Stoa Poikile. Another famous stoic is Marcus Aurelius, a famous roman emperor. The discipline of Stoicism teaches self-control as a means of defeating destructive emotions, which they believed were caused by errors in judgment and would not be felt by a true sage. Stoicism became the foremost philosophy among the leaders of Hellenistic and Roman society.
  • Pherecydes of Leros [Pherecydes of Athens] (vonfaustus.blogspot.com)
    Dionysus leading the Horae.
    [Day of Saturn + Hour of Mercury]
    Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell in the dire path which leads to deepest hell
    O Bacchic [Bakkheios] Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysius [Dionysos], parent of the vine,
    And of celestial Venus [Aphrodite] Paphian queen, dark eye-lash’d Goddess of a lovely mien:

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