The historical biblical monotheistic Judaism, which stood out among the triadic, polytheistic religions of the nations, gestated Christianity through the written promises of the Torah or the Pentateuch of Moses and the Jewish prophets. But when the fullness of time came and God sent forth his Son, Jesus, who was born by Mary, fulfilling the promise which He had given to the patriarch and founder of the Jewish nation Abraham that He would make him the father of a multitude of nations, Judaism was split into two.
One part was the Pharisaic Judaism as it had evolved from the 2nd century BC onwards. After the Babylonian captivity in 587 BC and the destruction of Solomon’s temple, in order to preserve the national and religious consistency of the secular Jewish nation, prayer and study houses were created as a substitute for the temple, the well-known synagogues, where not priests but Jewish wise men and scholars were leading, who were renamed rabbis. By defending against the external, cultural and religious influences, especially those of the Greeks, and by gradually adding human traditions and teachings to the education of the Jews, in other words the oral Torah, they fed the development of national religious superiority, i.e., the development of nationalism, which the Pharisees represented with extreme zeal. As a consequence, a new property of the one God of Israel, that of the national protector according to the similarity of the ethnic polytheism, was shaped. This erroneous property of the one true God, as a national protector, is advocated until today by in-name-only Christian states of various shades, which adopted it through the unfortunate historical event of the nationalization of Hellenized Christianity from the Roman state in the 4th century AD.
The other part was the original biblical Judaism, which remained committed to the written word and the prophets, awaited the consolation of Israel, and accepted the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham about eternal life in Christ Jesus according to the Scriptures. This original biblical Judaism reached its spiritual completion, which is the genuine early Christianity as established by Jesus and his apostles.
The first Jewish Christians and those who were later incorporated into this part of Judaism formed a spiritual body, which kept its monotheistic faith unchanged. Quickened by Jesus Christ they proved to be “children of promise” and became “partakers of the heavenly calling.” They worshiped God “in spirit and truth,” and God gave them the power to become his sons and his daughters, being God of the living and not of the dead.
“He that believes on the Son has everlasting life:” (John 3:36. Mat. 22:32. Luk. 2:25. II Tim. 1:1. Heb. 3:2)
Ι. The Birth of Biblical Judaism
Biblical Judaism was the traditional monotheistic religion of the Jews, born after their constitution as a nation. It was the Religion of promises and expectations, with the symbols as a strong element which were images of the heavenly expected spiritual goods, which were fulfilled through Jesus Christ, and it had age-related character with birth, adulthood and old age.
“In that he said, A new covenant, he has made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away.” (Heb. 8:13)
His chief prophet and founder was the servant of God Moses who did exactly what was shown to him. The historical conditions for the formation of the nation and the religion of the Jews are made known through the written Torah and the books of the prophets of Israel, the Hebrew Bible.
The guidance and communication of the true God with Israel from the beginning made him a heteronomous nation both socially and religiously. The autonomous peoples chose their land, trading and miscegenation with others, philosophized, legislated and invented their gods and each religion according to their applied politics and their social, spiritual and cultural needs, unless they were under foreign sovereignty.
Israel [= God’s Power] neither chose nor was enforced by other states to be so. It was God himself who spoke to Abram the Chaldean, the son of the idolater Terah, who was then at the age of seventy-five years old, and said to him:
“Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you: And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing:” (Gen. 12:1-2, 7. Acts, chap. 7)
So Abram took his wife, Sarai, and his nephew, Lot, and went to the land of Canaan. There, the Lord appeared to him again, and told him, “Unto thy seed will I give this land.” So God himself decided to create the nation of Israel, he defined the land of its residence and the place where they would worship Him, and made Abram its biological father promising to bless him.
And while Abram had already received the promise that he would be the biological father of the fleshly Israel, at the age of eighty-six he acquired Ishmael from Hagar the Egyptian, the slave of Sarai, which, allegorically interpreted, is the Old Testament (“bearing children for slavery”) or otherwise the Mosaic law, which was given to Moses on Mount Sinai after four hundred and thirty years through angels and which would be the inviolable rule of the religious and political organization of the Jewish nation, with heavenly promises that received spiritual perfection. (Deu. 4:2, Heb. 8:5. Gal. 4:24)
So the national and religious identity of the earthly Israel and the boundaries of its residence on the land where the Amorites lived before were defined by God himself with a predominant command:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” (Judges, 6:10. Acts, 7:53. Deu. 6:4. Gen. 16:16. Gal. 4:22-24)
The promise to Abram
At the age of ninety-nine, the Lord appeared to Abram again and, having self-introduced as his God, said to him:
“As for me, behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made you ….… And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between me and you.” (Gen. 17:4-5, 11)
Circumcision as a sign
Circumcision was a sign, a seal which affirmed the vindication by faith and the quickening for all nations. Abraham, according to the promise, would be the father of the faith, the father of all believers whether they were circumcised or not. Circumcision was therefore not an innovation for the Jews who would make them special or superior to other nations, but it was a sign to remind them of God’s promise to Abraham “about the quickening of the dead.” Besides, circumcision was already in use before Abraham by Egyptians, Ethiopians, Syrians and others. (Herodotus, The Histories, Book 2, 104:2)
“What advantage then has the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Rom. 3:1-3)
The fulfillment of the promise abolished circumcision. In addressing the Jewish Christians who believed from the beginning, Paul wrote:
“Behold, I Paul say to you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” (Gal. 5:2-3)
“Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philip. 3:2-3)
Continuing speaking to Abraham, God tells him to now call his wife Sarai by the name Sarah [= Princess], and while as a young woman Sarai could not bear children, he promises him that during her old age he would give him a son through her, Isaac. Isaac, as a child of promise, became the most important allegory in the history of Judaism and is the New Testament, which frees from the law of sin and death, which is the fulfillment and perfection of biblical Judaism. [Gen., chap. 17. Gal., 4:22-24. Rom., 10:4]
“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:2)
The teaching of Christianity about the promise of life to Abraham
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.” (II Tim. 1:1)
“Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” (Gal. 4:28)
“For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.” (Rom. 4:13-14)
“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know you therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed ……. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to your seed, which is Christ (the life).” (Gal. 3:6-8, 16. John, 11:25)
Abraham is the father of faith
“Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also.” (Rom. 3:29)
“For what said the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness ……. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also. And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.” (Rom. 4:3, 10-11)
“As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations, before him whom he believed, even God, who vivifies the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were.” (Rom. 4:17)
So the promise of the one God to Abraham that he will become the father of a multitude of nations spoke of the quickening of the dead Jewish and gentiles.
“But Jesus said to him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.” (Mat. 8:22)
Why he said, Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.” (Eph. 5:14)
“Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;) And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:5-7)
The same promise cancels out any nationalistic and biological interpretation of Pharisaic Judaism for revival and worldwide domination of the earthly kingdom of Israel. It was a promise of God, which surpassed the narrow limits of the genealogically fleshly Jewish nation and embraced all the children of faith regardless of their earthly nationality. Any biological or national religious perception of the promise is untrue. God did not say to Abraham that he would be the biological father of all nations, but he made him the father of the faith of the children of the promise who are fatherless, motherless, non-genealogical in relation to the cosmic creation, because the members of the household, the living children of God, is a spiritual living nation, a holy nation.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John, 1:12-13)
And to your seed, who is Christ [the Life]
“Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” (1 Pet. 1:23)
Nor when he said to him “and to your seed” did he mean the perishable biological seed, because the biological man is sown, he is born in corruption, in dishonor and in weakness. But, by establishing Abraham as the father of faith, he told him about the heavenly man Jesus Christ, who, as a life-giving spirit (1 Cor. 15:45), raises within the psychic, perishable and mortal body of the earthly men the inner spiritual man through faith and acceptance in Jesus.
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (I Cor. 15:42-44)
“What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John, 3:6)
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (II Cor. 4:16)
“Do not lie to one another. Strip yourselves of the old man, with his deeds, and clothe yourself with the new man, who has been renewed by knowledge, in accord with the image of the One who created him.” (Col. 3:9-10, CPDV)
The old man / the outward man is the mortal, fleshly and perishable man who is “sown,” born by an earthy father and an earthy mother, while the new man / the inward man is the spiritual one, the imperishable one, born within the earthly man by the heavenly Jesus who is a life-giving spirit. (1 Cor. 15:45)
"Of his own will he brought us forth (the inward man) by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." (James 1:18)
The earthy man was a type of the spiritual who was to come
“Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.” (Rom. 5:14)
God is Spirit, he cannot be considered as clay; therefore, the execution of the intention of “let us make man in our image, after our likeness” required a heavenly, spiritual man, and not an earthly one from the earth, dependent upon food and drink. (John 4:24, Gen. 1:26))
The earthly Adam (= man) was made “according to the image of God” and he “was a type of the one who was to come” (Gen. 1:27, Rom. 5:14). His categorization as "the first man" demonstrates the expectation of a second one (1 Cor. 15:47-49) who would be according to the requirements of God's original intent, namely, spiritual, eternal/immortal and heavenly. Therefore, from the beginning of man's creation from the earth, the spiritual man, the new creation, was the expected one. This expectation was fulfilled through Jesus, "who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation" (the new and spiritual one, not the earthly one). (Col. 1:15)
“A ruler shall not fail from Juda, nor a prince from his loins, until there come the things stored up for him; and he is the expectation of nations.” (Gen. 49:10, LXXE)
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Cor. 5:17)
The flesh/body of Jesus Christ is the Temple of the invisible God (John 2:21)
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” (Col. 2:9)
In the Old Testament, God, the Spirit, appeared through the earthly Sanctuary/Temple, in a cloud. In the New Testament, "God was manifest in the flesh." He appeared through the heavenly Temple; through the heavenly body of the Holy child Jesus. (Leviticus 16:2, 1 Timothy 3:16)
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:19)
The tabernacle, otherwise the sanctuary, “the worldly sanctuary” [Heb. 9:1], was the portable, terrestrial and handmade tabernacle of the Jews, the most powerful institution of Hebrew society and Judaism. It was a type of the true, heavenly, non-handmade dwelling place of God. It was built by Moses at the suggestion of God with earthly materials, with the ark of the testimony as the greatest of all furniture in the holy of holies, where the presence of God was also manifested.
“And thou shalt make me a sanctuary, and I will appear among you. And thou shalt make for me according to all things which I shew thee in the mountain; even the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all its furniture: so shalt thou make it.” (Ex. 25:8-9, LXXE)
The worldly, handmade temple consisted of the first tabernacle where the priests performing the worships entered, and the second tabernacle where the ark of the testimony was kept and where the high priest entered alone with the blood of slain animals “which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.” Between the two tabernacles there was a partition, the veil. For as much time as the first tabernacle existed and was in operation, it was an indication from the Holy Spirit that the way leading to the Holy of Holies was not yet revealed, as it operated with animal sacrifices, offerings, foods and drinks, which were carnal ordinances imposed until the time of the arrival of the true heavenly tabernacle, in which the true spiritual worshippers, the ones "in Christ," would worship. (Hebrew 9:6-10)
The heavenly body / flesh of Jesus is the True, non-handmade Temple; it is the true heavenly tabernacle that has come; it is the way that leads to the holies; it is the way that we approach and worship God who dwells in it, "in spirit and truth." (Hebrews 8:1-2, 10:19)
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.” (Heb. 9:11)
So, God set aside, canceled the old one, and introduced, inserted the new one. Since then, the quickened by Jesus Christ, the true, spiritual worshipers, the “new creation,” worship in this new heavenly Temple, which is the body of Christ Jesus. (John 2:21)
“But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John, 4:23-24)
The institution of the earthly tabernacle of Jewish society was replaced by the heavenly tabernacle with the new and living way established through the veil, that is, the flesh of Jesus who descended from heaven.
The origin of Jesus
“The angel said: Joseph, son of David, do not fear to receive Mary thy wife; for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit;” (Mat. 1:20)
The Spirit was the Father of the Lord Jesus, and Jesus was made a quickening spirit. If Jesus was a biological, earthly man, he would not be able to make regeneration (= to be born a second time, to return from death or non-existence to life). (Matthew 19:28, 1 Corinthians 15:45)
According to the biblical testimony, Jesus was the seed of the promise to Abraham, and the Spirit was his Father. His characterization as "the second man from heaven" (1 Cor. 15:48) doesn't characterize him as an earthy, biological man. And since God does not dwell in handmade temples, it would be impossible for all the fullness of Deity to dwell in the unblemished and spotless Jesus (1 Peter 1:19) if his flesh, his body, was biological. The biological man is perishable and cannot inherit incorruptibility, neither flesh and blood can inherit God's kingdom. Heirs are the spiritual children of the promise, the new creation, the regeneration.
Jesus was not a type of the first man, but the first man from the earth was a type of the future man, the second man from heaven, Jesus, whose flesh / body was "a likeness of sinful flesh." (Romans 8:3)
“Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Cor. 15:45-50)
Jesus’ testimony about himself
“And he said to them, You are from beneath; (earthy) I am from above (from heaven): you are of this world; I am not of this world.” (John, 8:23)
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John, 6:51)
“Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32-33)
The authors of the New Covenant letters said about Jesus
“He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all.” (John 3:31)
“No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” (John 3:13)
“The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.” (1 Cor. 15:47)
“He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.” (Eph. 4:10)
Compare: “the Word became flesh || God was manifest in the flesh || for the life was manifested.” (John, 1:14, I Tim. 3:16, I John, 1:2)
The fulfillment of the promise
Thus, the promise to the fathers of the Jews and founders of the Jewish monotheism, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was fulfilled.
“And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.” (Acts, 13:32-33)
Early Christianity is the fulfillment of the written expectations of biblical Judaism, which was completed. Biblical Judaism was declassified as a religion of expectations and as a religion of symbols, “Christ is the end of the law.” The pouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost confirmed the completion of the time of biblical Judaism and its ritual. The torch for the salvation of the man and the true knowledge and worship of the one God was picked up by the true early Christianity, with a mandate neither to be enforced nor to be nationalized, but:
“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.” (Luk. 24:47-48)
As the promises of God to Abraham legitimized the fleshly Israel and biblical Judaism, so the fulfillment of these promises by God legitimizes and establishes the new spiritual Israel and the genuine early Christianity.
Of course, this pure Christianity does not require any secular legitimization or any kind of secular imposition, because it is based on God's will and the unforced will of man, “If any man will come after me …….” (Mat. 16:24)
II. The Birth of Pharisaic Judaism
God made the priests, the sons of Aaron, responsible for the teaching of the people of Israel and interpretation of the written law, and for their mutual affairs and disputes he suggested appointing judges and prosecutors.
“And the LORD spoke to Aaron, saying, Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the LORD has spoken to them by Moses.” (Lev. 10:8-11)
“You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.” ( Deu. 16:18)
The institution of the kingdom demanded by the Jews by the last judge, Samuel, has created, as in any kingdom, nepotism. Together with the ignorance of the law due to the poor teaching of the priests, who sometimes neglected even the maintenance of the temple (II Kings, 12:4), it created rival political and religious tendencies that brought schisms to the people of Israel, apostasy from God, partition of the kingdom and civil war conflicts. In the acts of the kings, Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, stands out by trying to do what is pleasing to God, and sends some non-responsible rulers along with the Levites to the cities of Judah to teach the people the Book of the Law of the Lord (II Chronicles, 17:7-9). Therefore, the involvement of the elite in the religious matters was in action, and the preservation of the interests required the survival of the nation, resulting in the gradual development of a nationalistic religious conscience and faith in one God, a national protector, who would guarantee the state's prosperity and supremacy against the others. Thus, the perception of God's good intention to bless all nations, as it was announced to Patriarch Abraham, was overshadowed.
Later on, in the Babylonian captivity and dispersion, the destruction of the built temple, the strongest institution of Judaism, strongly emphasized the need for the survival of the Jewish identity and the uplifting of the national and religious spirit. This need was met by the houses of prayer and study that evolved into synagogues, with educators, Jewish scholars, the later rabbis. The synagogues compensated for the lack of the temple and continued as a secondary religious institution after its rebuilding, which was carried out with the support and sponsorship of a foreign power, that of Persia. (Ezra, 7:14-15)
The protagonists at the time of the rebuilding of the temple, which was inferior to the first one in terms of beauty, were the political leader Zerubbabel and the priest and secretary Ezra, an expert in the written law of the Lord, who largely restored the knowledge of the law, appointed Levitical priests and judges, and so the kingdom of Judah continued to survive with those whose heart God had moved to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. (Ezra, 1:5)
Until the birth of Jesus, the Jewish nation continued its religious and political schismatic course. Besides the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, there was also a temple in Samaria, on Mount Gerizim, which was built by the ten tribes of the kingdom of Israel and, according to Josephus, was destroyed by the high priest and king of the Jews John Hyrcanus in 128 BC, who inaugurated in Israel the institution of dual power, the political one and the religious one. Also, archaeologists assert a Jewish temple on the island of Elephantine of Egypt that served the needs of the Jewish community there. With the support of Ptolemy VI, another temple was built by the high priest Onias in Leontopolis, Egypt, where he resorted after having been persecuted by the family of the Maccabees; a temple that was the spiritual center of the Jews of Egypt. The participation of the Jews of Alexandria in the rebellion of the Jews of Palestine against the sovereignty of Rome also led to the destruction of the temple in Leontopolis.
Political division of the Jews
The civil war of the Greeks between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids who prevailed in Palestine, transformed, due to geographical position, the land of Judea into battlefields, dragging the Jews into a political division, dividing them into hellenizontes and nationalists. The violent policy of the hellenization of the Seleucids outlawed the Jewish religion causing a civil war between the Judaic factions with the participation of Hellenistic high priests. The revolution of the Maccabees after many struggles finally gave independence to the Jews again, peace came between the factions without, however, disrupting the spread of the Greek thinking and the tendency of hellenization.
The involvement of the priestly institution in politics weakened its original mission and created a breach between the priests and the wise men and secretaries who controlled the synagogues. In this way, the ground was prepared for the emergence, among the scholars, of the sect of the Pharisees (= those who have been divided) who claimed to be the legal representatives, interpreters and custodians of Judaism, they recognized both the written and the oral Torah, thus creating the dipole of the commandments of God and the commandments of men. They placed a special emphasis on manmade rules, they uplifted the national spirit, and they were popular among the ordinary people. The Pharisees were in a permanent social and religious confrontation with the sect of the Sadducees who rejected the oral tradition, pursued hellenization and defended the rights and privileges of the ruling class.
Τhe oral traditions over the written law of Moses
The Roman conquest, the Roman-friendly policy of the Jewish kings and the Hellenistic tendency mainly of the wealthy Jewish people of Palestine and those who settled in Egypt, strengthened the position of the Pharisees, but created a side effect in the Jewish perception, that of the dominance of the oral traditions over the written law of Moses, resulting in the birth of extreme nationalism. This fact was foreseen by the prophet Isaiah, and the Lord Jesus confirmed it.
“This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mat. 15:8-9)
Throughout his ministry in the land of Israel, Jesus always referred to the written law and prophets, and never to human traditions and teachings which he rejected.
“Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things written about himself in all the scriptures.” (Luk. 24:27, NET)
The apostle Paul “from the tribe of Benjamin” was a Pharisee, who studied in Jerusalem “at the feet” of Gamaliel who was also a Pharisee. He was more exceedingly zealous for his paternal traditions, and before his conversion to Christ, not having the spiritual understanding of the written law, he persecuted and abused the church of God.
“For you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I was savagely persecuting the church of God and trying to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my nation, and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors.” (Gal. 1:13:14, NET)
But when he became aware, he understood that the Scriptures spoke not of a fleshly but of a spiritual people, who would receive a heavenly inheritance and kingdom that would be not of this world. So, what he thought was gain, he now regards it as dung so that he may win Christ. Having this understanding now, he recommends to the church:
“And these things, brothers, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that you might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.” (I Cor. 4:6)
In Timothy, the same apostle exalts the divine origin of the Scriptures, unquestionably putting the written word of the Hebrew Bible above every human tradition and philosophy.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.” (II Tim. 3:16-17)
And again: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom.15:4)
Not a single “genuine child of faith,” of the true Jesus, was enticed by the human traditions of the Pharisees; those who hoped in them believed that Jesus was the Jew who would restore the kingdom to the fleshly Israel according to the earthly pattern of David.
“When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.” (John, 6:15)
The same anti-biblical Pharisaic perceptions were an obstacle to recognizing the heavenly Jesus as the One true God, and for this reason they were asking to kill him, believing that Jesus was an earthly man just like them, who made himself God.
“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” (John, 5:18)
“The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone you not; but for blasphemy; and because that you, being a man, make yourself God.” (John, 10:33)
Pharisaic Judaism remained in the nationalistic, earthly perception of God's promises, and, by not understanding the written prophetic word, it denied the finisher of faith Jesus Christ and persecuted true Christianity from its birth, thus failing to achieve its spiritual fulfillment and become the receiver of the heavenly goods.
“Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And you will not come to me, that you might have life.” (John, 5:39)
“For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.” (Acts, 13:27-28)
Today's Rabbinic Judaism, which finds pleasure in collecting human Jewish traditions, is introduced as the ideological continuation of Pharisaic Judaism, with varying tendencies and stripped of the elements that legitimized Judaism, namely, the temple, the prophets, the priests, the sacrifices, the baptisms, the offerings and the genealogical Jewish bloodline; it preserves the expectation of a third handmade Temple in Jerusalem as a means of fulfilling its nationalistic ideologies, completely ignoring that:
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands;” (Acts, 17:24)
ΙΙΙ. The birth of the state religion of the Ecumenical Councils
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John, 8:31-32)
The formed byzantine “patristic” Christianity differs in its structure from the early Christianity which was established by Jesus and the apostles, and which is the completion of Biblical Judaism.
Hellenized christianity and christianized hellenism were attained by the involvement of Plato's thinking fundamentally and the monotheistic Jewish christianity, with the hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo as a pioneer, and later with the philosophical apologists. Gradually, this blending formed a new philosophical current, which was a meta-evolution of Plotinus Neo-Platonism, which is characterized as a patristic philosophy, the Byzantine thinking. According to this new “patristic” philosophy, the heavenly man, Jesus Christ, has two natures, he is a perfect man and a perfect god, and so the Jewish deniers who led Jesus to the cross with deceit were half-justified.
“The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone you not; but for blasphemy; and because that you, being a man, make yourself God.” (John 10:33)
The “fathers” of the new religion, who were also excited by Philo's love for the contradictory Greek philosophy, forgot the Scriptures, which say that:
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (I Cor. 1:21)
“However, we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nothing: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world to our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (I Cor. 2:6-8)
Early Christianity is the manifestation of God's love and “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” and is in contradistinction to human philosophy. (II Cor. 4:6)
“And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.” (I Cor. 2:13)
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but to us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? ” (I Cor. 1:18-20)
The apologetic philosophers equated this contradistinction by, on the one hand, downgrading the “gospel of God” to the level of human philosophy and, on the other hand, by upgrading the human contradictory philosophy to a divine level. (Rom. 15:16)
“For Plato, with the air of one that has descended from above, and has accurately ascertained and seen all that is in heaven, says that the most high God exists in a fiery substance. But Aristotle, in a book addressed to Alexander of Macedon, giving a compendious explanation of his own philosophy, clearly and manifestly overthrows the opinion of Plato, saying that God does not exist in a fiery substance: but inventing, as a fifth substance, some kind of aetherial and unchangeable body, says that God exists in it.” (Justin’s hortatory address to the Greeks, chap. 5)
With this contradictory philosophy, a large portion of “Christians” walked from the 2nd century AD onwards, enticed by the apologists, who mistakenly taught that philosophy is a tutor that brings people to Christianity and a fellow-helper in the understanding of truth.
This teaching was in stark contrast to the teaching of the apostles who said:
“But, before the faith came, we were kept guarded under law, being shut up to the faith about to be revealed. So that the law has become our tutor [to lead us] to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But the faith having come, we are no longer under a tutor;” (Gal. 3:23-25, Worrell)
The very few references to Greek literature in the New Testament have simple human meaning and do not prove the parallel dissemination of philosophical currents by the apostles. This is mistakenly claimed by the adherents of the meta-evolved and processed “patristic” Christianity, which, as it was mentioned above, is the result of a multi-year process of mixing philosophy with the revelation of the truth by the Holy Spirit, which was sent from heaven. (I Peter to Hebrews, 1:2)
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (I Cor. 2:4-5)
By accepting this proper strategy of the apostle Paul, the Jews of Veria were “nobler” than the Jews of Thessaloniki, and when Paul visited them at their synagogue, they accepted the word with all willingness. In order to ascertain the truth of Jesus, they “examined the Scriptures every day” without consulting the Greek philosophy, which grabbed Christ as a loot from the believers.
“Beware that no one rob you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col. 2:8, VW)
The new religion
The new, Platonized, “patristic” thinking, covered behind the Hebrew Bible and the personality of Jesus Christ and having hellenism as a background, eventually formed a new polytheistic religion supported by the Roman politics of the New Rome. Dressed in the cremated forms of Judaism “and the elements shall melt with fervent heat (II Pet. 3:10),” such as earthly temples with symbolic arrangement and operation which intensely reminds of the burnt temple of the Jews, upgraded the “other god word” of Philo and the apologist Justin and other philosophers, from “second” and “inferior” god to “co-eternal” and “co-equal” to the Father, making an ontological equation of God the Father and God the Son.
The misguided effort of the apologists to mix Greek thinking, which believed in complex deities with a hierarchical union of member gods, (henotheism), with biblical monotheism, gave birth to long theological philosophical battles. Finally, with the help of the philosophers, “fathers of the church” and the holding of many councils which in practice fueled new controversies and consecutive depositions and exiles of bishops of all individual factions, a god of three hypostases was created, a three-sunned godhead, thus justifying both the human philosophy and the ever-existing national polytheism. The “Triune unit” which was incomprehensible to people became fully comprehensible at the end of the 4th century AD only by the philosophers, “fathers of the church” who finalized the triadic doctrine, which was proclaimed correct by an imperial order, replacing “Christ’s” teaching. (Colossians, 2:8)
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – Excerpt from an edict in the Byzantine-Roman Law
On the orthodox faith of Christians
and that no one should dare
to dispute about it publicly.
1) Read βι. α’ τι α chap. α και δ, which say that a Christian is someone who believes that there is one deity of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, with equal power. Anyone who believes the opposite of what has been said is a heretic.
2) No clergyman or monk or soldier or anyone else by gathering a crowd in public should talk about faith, because it will be seen as an insult to the Council of Chalcedon which adequately defined everything, which also allows all heretics to know our point of view. Therefore, if a clergyman does so, he will be expelled from the clergy association. If someone is a soldier, he will be expelled from the army. Let the rest be punished according to their social class.
The Roman emperors Constantine and Theodosius
The sun-worshiper, polytheist, mithraist, bloody emperor of the Romans, Flavius Valerius Constantinus, for political reasons, sought the religious assimilation of his ethnicities, believing that he would also secure the favor of the God of “Christians” in his martial affairs, but also the willingness of themselves to pour their blood for the empire. Being an idolater, whatever knowledge he had about the Son of God was obtained from controversial prophecies by a Sibyl (= oracle, priestess of the god Apollo) whom he extolled as blessed.
“It is evident that the virgin uttered these verses under the influence of Divine inspiration. And I cannot but esteem her blessed, whom the Saviour (sobriquet of god Apollo) thus selected to unfold his gracious purpose towards us.” (The oration of the emperor Constantine, which he addressed “to the assembly of the saints” chap. 18)
Most of Eusebius' contemporaries believed that the sibylline oracles about Jesus were forgeries as Eusebius himself testifies:
“Many, however, who admit that the Erythræan Sibyl was really a prophetess, yet refuse to credit this prediction, and imagine that some one professing our faith, and not unacquainted with the poetic art, was the composer of these verses. They hold, in short, that they are a forgery, and alleged to be the prophecies of the Sibyl on the ground of their containing useful moral sentiments, tending to restrain licentiousness, and to lead man to a life of sobriety and decorum.” (The oration of the emperor Constantine, which he addressed “to the assembly of the saints” chap. 19)
The emperor Constantine came from the army's ranks and had received his rank for wartime gallantry. His main concern was the proper administration, the increase and the preservation of his territorial sovereignty. Without having any knowledge of the Greek and Jewish literature and being unqualified for Judeo-Christian biblical issues, he summoned the First Ecumenical Council, which is characterized as a political act, aiming at the cohesion of the Roman state through common faith. By signing the decisions of the Council into state law with the death penalty for doubters, he set himself as the protector of the already Hellenized and schismatic Christianity, granting special privileges to the clergy as well. Influenced by his Arian bishops friends and his sister, Constantia, he leaned to Arianism. A few years later, following the condemnation by the Council of Arianism and the exile of Arius, he recalls the latter from exile and punishes in the same way the great adversary of Arius at the Council, the “father” Athanasius of Alexandria.
However, the greatest distortion of the promises of God and the teaching of the genuine Christianity, which has no flag or color, was achieved by the emperor Theodosius, who, in 380 AD, made the processed Christianity the official religion of his empire, thus attributing an ethno-religious identity to his earthly citizens as opposed to the spiritual and not-of-this-world identity recognized by the one God on the “partakers of the heavenly calling.” (Hebrews, 3:1)
“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:26:29)
The new state religion of the philosophers, “fathers of the church,” supported by the anti- pagan legislation of its sole dominant protectors who outlawed all the ancient religions by imposing the punishment of beheading and other means of punishment on the dissidents, achieved its violent dominance, yielding continuous spiritual darkness in the East and the West. The excerpt from the Acts of the Apostles that is quoted depicts the complete contrast between God's good intentions towards man and the purposes and the state-served interests of the new religion, the ally of the Byzantium, and the policy of violent cleansing of those of a different faith.
Delivering you (Grk txt: εκλέγων σε = choosing you) from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom now I send you, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:17-18, AKJV)
The side effects of the nationalization of the new religion
The anti-Christian impacts of Theodosius' decision to nationalize God's work for the salvation of people are perpetuated and imprinted primarily by the results of the anti-pagan policy followed by him and other Roman emperors, which resembles that of the Persian king Artaxerxes.
“And whoever will not do the law of your God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be to death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.” (Ez. 7:26)
And secondly, they are perpetuated and imprinted by the distinct Christian perception acquired by the Byzantine “Christian” citizens, as it appears in the following excerpt from an article by theologian Manolis Tzirakis:
“However, besides the emperor, the citizen of the Byzantine state is also a genuine and faithful Christian. He believes that the state he belongs to is protected by God and enjoys His favor. This belief is expressed by Cosmas Indicopleustes in the 6th century when he states that: "The State of Romans will not be torn down; it will remain unharmed forever, being the first to believe in the Lord Christ." (att. Ahrweiler, 2009). The members of Byzantine society are law-abiding citizens of the emperor and Christians committed to their faith, they are guided by monks and clergymen, they indiscriminately go by the name of Roman or Christian (identical terms in Byzantium), whom its emperor Leo VI characteristically calls the Nation of Christians, while the Byzantine people was named the Chosen People or New Israel (Ahrweiler, 2009).”
The formed religious and subsequent political dominance of the new secular Byzantine religion points to the military, imperialistic triumphs of Rome rather than to the pure, through the Holy Spirit, heavenly destination, which was carved by the early Christianity with the persuasion of the god-inspired written word and not with the persuasion of the contradictory evolved patristic philosophy and the armed coercion that harmed and adulterated the basic truths that God is love and is One.
“And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.” (Acts, 28:23)
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in your sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” (Mat. 11:25-27)
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