How Did Jesus Become White? By Richard Stockton

On December 15, 2015 in Curiosities, History, and Religion Richard Stockton  wrote

Just how did we end up with a white Jesus? It’s a longer story than you’d think.

White Jesus

A white Jesus ascends to heaven. Image Source: Flickr

Jesus has been the object of veneration and worship in the West for nearly 2,000 years, to the point that his mildest utterances (correctly attributed or not) have occasionally formed the basis of whole religious movements. As Jesus’ following spread over time — sometimes via devoted missionary work and sometimes by comparatively less saintly methods — people across multiple societies have cast images of Jesus in their image.

Doing that is relatively easy since, believe it or not, the Bible contains no description of Jesus’ physical appearance. We do, however, know a thing or two about demographics, which means that if Jesus did exist where and when the Bible says he did, he certainly was not white. And yet today, we envision him as just that. Why?

Early Depictions

As far as anybody knows, not even an amateur attempt to depict Jesus can be found from a time before about the second century. This has a lot to do with the position Christians held in Roman society at the time: though conditions varied from place to place, it’s fair to say that following Jesus was not a career-enhancing move until sometime in the fourth century.

Prior to that, most Christians depicted their lord symbolically with the ichthyos, the “Jesus fish” you’ve seen on a million hatchbacks, or the Chi-Rho, which combined the first two letters of the Greek Christos as a kind of secret shorthand to help believers find each other and their places of worship.

Given this environment, it’s perhaps understandable that what is arguably the first depiction of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, is a bit of satirical graffiti scratched in plaster by a second-century Roman dudebro giving his friend a hard time:

White Jesus Mocking Graffiti

The text reads: “Alexamenos worshiping God.” Image Source: Wikipedia

Positive depictions of Jesus date from around the third century. In this fresco, found in the St. Callisto catacomb in Rome, Jesus is shown as a Good Shepherd with olive skin and totally contemporary dress for the time and place. Jesus is even shown without a beard, which was common among Romans at the time, but unheard of for Judean men.

The catacomb where it was found probably began as a Roman family tomb, but expanded into a place of burial and secret worship after the family converted to Christianity. It may also have served as a convenient bolt-hole during the Great Persecution of Diocletian in the late third century.

White Jesus Good Shepherd

Jesus as “good shepherd.” Image Source: Twitter

Already in this image, possibly the oldest surviving attempt to represent him, Jesus is clearly being depicted as if he had been a Roman of Italian or Greek extraction. While the modern concept of representational art might look askance at this sort of thing, remember that Jesus had previously been depicted as an abstract symbol or arcane combination of letters.

In a real sense, what Jesus would have actually looked like in life was irrelevant to the people who met under this fresco. What was important was the connection they felt to him and to each other.

Out of the Shadows

With the conversion of Constantine in the early fourth century, Christianity was free to come out of hiding. More than that, with a friendly emperor and extremely devout queen mother (St. Theresa), being a Christian was suddenly the path to power and influence in an economy that ran mainly on sucking up to wealthy patrons. Artists tore loose:

White Jesus Constantine Fresco

A fresco of Jesus during the age of Constantine. Image Source: Flickr

This image was painted for a villa that belonged to Constantine himself, and it was presumably painted by a well-connected and highly regarded artist. Showing Christ seated on a throne between Peter and Paul, most elements of traditional Christian iconography are already present. Jesus has a halo, he’s in the top-center of the composition, his fingers are held in a benediction, and he’s clearly European. Everybody is wearing Greek dress, and Jesus has the wavy, flowing hair and beard that he still has in every movie today, 1,700 years later. Here’s a detail of his face:

White Jesus Face Detail

A detailed look at Jesus’ face. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This set of features — halo, benediction, white as snow — became so firmly established in both the Roman and Byzantine churches that it then spread back into the Middle East as Jesus’ official portrait, even among brown-skinned people whom you would expect to revere a more Mediterranean-looking savior:

White Jesus Sinai Portrait

This image, for example, is from a sixth-century church in Egypt. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Pictures of a white Jesus cropped up all over the Empire around this time. In this one, etched into a glass plate and found in Spain, Jesus is again depicted as beardless – common in Iberia, but rare by this time in the Greek parts of the empire – and carrying a cross. Again, all of the common elements are here: the halo, the central placement, and the instruction of apostles.

HALLAN EN C¡STULO (JA…N) UNA PATENA DEL SIGLO IV, ⁄NICA EN LA PENÕNSULA

A fourth century glass plate depicting Jesus, found in the Iberian Peninsula. Image Source: Jose Manuel Pedrosa

Modern Look

The generally accepted (white) appearance of Jesus was firmly established by the reign of Constantine. Unlike other images of, for example, Constantine himself, the template for depicting Jesus barely changed in the 18 centuries after it took shape. This is almost certainly the result of two pressures: religious conservatism and artists’ desire to actually sell their work.

Regarding the former, church authorities have historically been resistant to any kind of change — especially throughout most of the period we’re dealing with (think crusades and burnings). This tendency exerted tremendous pressure on ambitious young artists who probably didn’t want “burned for heresy” to appear in the footnote to their entry in an art history textbook.

Second, and less morbidly, artists have always wanted to reach the public and tell a story with their work — it makes for a more effective painting and thus a longer-lasting, more successful career. Whether it’s a quick sketch, a mosaic floor, or the Blessing Christ by Raphael, using an agreed-upon likeness of a powerful figure like Jesus just made it easier to reach a mass audience, especially in a time of general illiteracy.

White Jesus Blessing Christ

The Blessing Christ by Raphael. Image Source: Wikipedia

Today, Jesus is most likely to be depicted in iconography and film. The icons, which are usually smallish cards that can be carried or displayed in the home, mostly follow the old artistic conventions of the late Roman Empire, with few changes since the era of the Council of Nicaea.

The film depictions are a little looser – as befits a much newer medium – but still the actors chosen for the role of Jesus are about as white as it gets. Jeffrey Hunter, Ted Neely, and Haaz Sleiman have all played Jesus in film, and only Sleiman is even remotely from the same region as the story was set. Even so, behold – the Lebanese actor who played Jesus:

National Geographic Channel

Haaz Sleiman as Jesus of Nazareth in National Geographic Channel’s “Killing Jesus.” Image Source: YouTube

While it can be annoying for purists who like to point out that Jesus of Nazareth probably bore a closer physical resemblance to Osama bin Laden than his flaxen, lily-white depiction today, every culture that received a visit from missionaries has been guilty of doing the same thing — they just weren’t as influential as the Christian powers that be. While the Empire eventually faded, one of its most wildly exaggerated and appropriated offerings — a white Jesus — stuck around.

 – Richard Stockton is a freelance science and technology writer from Sacramento, California.

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Please do find also

  1. Not having Jesus’ skull
  2. A dark skinned Jesus
  3. Most probable and accurate image of Jesus Christ according British scientists

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Were Gnostics the original Christians?

[this is a sample of text from the book “Living on the edge” by Jonathan Burke]

 

Were Gnostics the original Christians?

There is no evidence that Gnostics were the first Christians, or that the earliest Christians borrowed from Gnostic beliefs; Gnosticism did not even exist in the first century.[1] No Gnostic documents have been found which pre-date Christianity.[2] [3]

The earliest Gnostic written works found, all date to a time long after Christianity was well established.[4] There is no evidence that any New Testament books contain references to Gnosticism,[5] [6] and no evidence that Gnosticism was a rival to the earliest Christians.[7]

Gnosticism did not exist in the first century, only pre-Gnostic ideas which later became incorporated into Gnosticism during the second century.[8]

________________________________

[1] ‘But it is now widely agreed that the quest for a pre-Christian Gnosticism, properly so called, has proved to be a wild goose chase.’, Dunn, ‘The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul’, p. 9 (2003).

[2] ‘Even if it could be proven that any of the previously discussed works or, for that matter, any of the NH tractates are non-Christian Gnostic documents, that would not in itself be evidence for pre-Christian Gnosticism.’, Combs, ‘Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism and New Testament Interpretation’, Grace Theological Journal (8.2.207-208), 1987.

[3] ‘And even if we are on solid ground in some cases in arguing the original works represented in the library are much older than extant copies, we are still unable to postulate plausibly any pre-Christian dates.’, McRae, ‘Nag Hammadi and the New Testament’, pp. 146–47, in Combs, ‘Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism and New Testament Interpretation’, Grace Theological Journal (8.2.208) , (1987).

[4] ‘Egypt has yielded early written evidence of Jewish, Christian, and pagan religion. It has preserved works of Manichaean and other Gnostic sects, but these are all considerably later than the rise of Christianity.’, Unger, ‘The Role of Archaeology  in the Study Of the New Testament’, Bibliotheca Sacra (116.462.153), 1996.

[5] ‘Some modern researchers suggest that several NT and related texts evidence contact with “Gnosticism” in various stages of its development. Texts that especially stand out are Paul’s Corinthian correspondence, Colossians, Ephesians, the Pastoral Epistles, Jude, 2 Peter, and the letters of Ignatius of Antioch (d. ca. 115) and Polycarp of Smyrna (d. ca. 165) among others. But even here the issues discussed are diverse, demonstrating a complex assortment of competing new religious movements, but no evidence of “Gnosticism.”’, Freedman, ‘Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible’, p. 509 (2000).

[6] ‘Scholarship must in all likelihood abandon the hypothesis that a cohesive Gnostic movement204 is reflected in Paul’s letters.’, Lüdeman, ‘Primitive Christianity: A Survey of Recent Studies and Some New Proposals’, p. 150 (2003).

[7] ‘If in all likelihood, with the possible exception of the Simonians, there was no such thing as a rival Gnostic movement within or competing with Pauline Christianity, the question arises whether there ever was a specific Gnostic myth as an entity of its own.’ , ibid’, p. 151.

[8] ‘The full-fledged Gnosticism of later church history did not exist in the first century A.D.21 An incipient form of Gnosticism was present, but Schmithals makes the error of reading later Gnosticism into the first century documents.’, Schreiner, ‘Interpreting the Pauline Epistles’, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology (3.3.10), Fall 1999.

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Additional note:

Tim Wallace I remember when I did ‘text and traditions’ in year 12, the teacher explaining the the gospel of John was all about fighting gnostism… i vaguely remember learning about it. I had never heard about gnostism until that class.

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Living On The Edge It was an idea which gained some traction years ago, and took a while to be debunked. It hasn’t been taken seriously by the scholarly consensus for years, but plenty of textbooks are still being used which make this claim.

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Additional reading:

  1. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  2. Missionaire hermeneutiek 1/5
  3. Challenging claim 1 Whose word
  4. The Song of The Lamb #3 Daniel and Revelation
  5. Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage

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  • Gnostic Media Flashback Interview: The Qabalah – Gene Odening (sgtreport.com)
    We continue our discussion on the Trivium and Quadrivium and go for a full-blown as we complete this series with the Qabalah and the mystery schools with Gene Odening.
  • Real Truth Will Set You Free (mylordmyfriend.com)
    in Colossians, the Apostle Paul, had to deal with false teaching called Gnosticism

    Gnosticism led to theological compromise, we can’t comprise The Truth of God’s Word. One of the compromises of Gnosticism was Christ Jesus was not unique, which opposes the Gospel message. If Christ is not so, Christianity is no worse but certainly no better than any other faith.

    Another compromise of Gnosticism, it lead to moral abuse, with a catch cry ‘Soma sema’, ‘The body is a tomb’. Our bodies are not tombs for the soul, but temples for The Holy Spirit to reside.

    Another compromise of Gnosticism led to false religious practices. Treating religious rules as if these rules could lead to God. If that wasn’t bad enough, early Gnosticism claimed that those who followed their teaching possessed wisdom {gnosis} and were superior.

  • An Ancient Theologian explains Tradition (notforitchingears.com) Originally posted on Dead Heroes Don’t Save:
    Irenaeus, a 2nd century theologian, defended Christianity from the Gnostic philosophies that were popular at the time. His 5 volume work, Against Heresies, dedicates the first two volumes to describing the Gnostic views and then precedes to dismantle them in the remaining volumes.
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    The heretics did not just offer a different worldview. They were using Scriptures to uphold their ideas – which centered on two gods – a good one and an evil one. It was the evil god who created the physical world that we must rid ourselves of.
  • Carl Jung: “Christ was referred to as the fish.” (carljungdepthpsychology.blogspot.com)
    Christ was referred to as the fish.

    In a papyrus which has recently been discovered and is in the British Museum he is referred to by the secret sign XP.

    The sign >!( is formed from it.

    These signs appear in Gnosticism, St. Paul’s sayings are undoubtedly connected with Gnosticism.

    On Gnostic gems we find the symbol of the vase, the vase of sin.

    The Gnosis is a disturber of the peace of the Church, but it is full of psychological truths, many yet undiscovered.

  • A Masonic One World Conspiracy – Freeman on GW Radio (gnosticwarrior.com)
    Freeman has lectured extensively on the secret signs and symbolism of Freemasonry, the ancient astronaut hypothesis, trauma-based mind control, social engineering, government conspiracy, human cloning, technologies of the future, and synchronicity.
  • New blog at Occult Minds (heterodoxology.com)
    esotericism scholars can learn from some of their colleagues studying Gnosticism.
  • Framing Paul: An Epistolary Biography by Douglas Campbell (Eerdmans, 2014) (andygoodliff.typepad.com)

    Too often Pauline scholarship operates with no overarching frame, no account of how the letters are related to one another, the order they come in and the underlying account of Paul’s life which explains their contingency. Campbell’s argument is that a biography, that arises out of the data in the letters, and at the same time explains them, this will ‘ground all subsequent interpretative work on Paul rather more accurately and firmly than hitherto has been the case’ (p.404).

    Campbell argues that to construct Paul’s biography we must begin with his letters and leave to one side the account of Paul’s life in the Book of Acts. We must begin with the primary data. Too many Pauline scholars too readily accept the account in Acts or work with an approach that borrows both from Acts and the letters as equal sources. Campbell’s approach builds on that done by John Knox and John Hurd.

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend

Death, fossils and pumpkins

National Fossil Day, established to promote the scientific and educational values of fossils, on Wednesday of the second full week in October may perhaps been overlooked by many, though they would love to look into the death beings this and the coming month. there was in some countries even a Chucky, the Notorious Killer Doll Day (celebrated annually on October 25).

In many countries October is also the month of the pumpkin. In America it is even one of America’s favourite dessert which gives it it’s own special day.  October 21 annually celebrates National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day and fall is the perfect season to enjoy this delightful and delicious dessert.

In certain countries at the end of the month there is a “National Knock Knock Joke Day.” Annually celebrated on October 31, it is a holiday for jokesters of all ages to share their knock knock jokes throughout the day. But at night many go out to bring ‘ogre’ jokes. The want to bring the shudder onto others. Several people on the 31st of October love to get the creeps for fun. In Belgium such ‘fun’ started already this weekend in the amusement parks. This year some people were a little bit disillusioned or undeceived because since 1921 we had the warmest October weekend and the sun was present for a longer time than usual. On television we could see the many special attractions for ‘Halloween‘.

Ancient Celtic feast still popular today

An ancient Celtic feast gets a lot of attention also by people who call themselves Christians. They do not seem to bother that they join in such a heathen or pagan festival. Coming from the time people were frightened of evil spirits, strange animals and strange natural effects, they would dress up in costumes and make noise in the streets in order to make the spirits go away. When Catholicism was brought into our regions the church had to face a very strong traditional holy day. In fear not getting the people to their religion they took over a lot of the Celtic festivals in their religion and gave them an other name. The Spanish and French explorers brought Roman Catholicism to what is now the United States in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and took with them those pagan rites, imposing them on the local population. Later many Irish people settling in the North of America brought their end of Summer festival tradition with them.

English: Saint Patrick stained glass window fr...

Saint Patrick stained glass window from Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Ireland and Scotland the inhabitants celebrated the end of Summer on the 31st of October and called it Samhain or Calan Gaeaf.  The 31st of October was also the eve of the new year in both Celtic and Anglo­Saxon times and was the occasion for one of the ancient fire festivals when huge bonfires were set on hilltops to frighten away evil spir­its. The date was connected with the return of herds from pasture, and laws and land tenures were renewed. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the autumnal festival acquired sinister sig­nificance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Hal­loween was thought to be the most favour­able time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.

In about the year 388, the devil was said to be so enraged at the piety of St. Patrick that he assailed the saint with a whole band of witches in Scotland. The story goes that St. Patrick fled to the river Clyde, embarking in a small boat for Ireland. As witches cannot pursue their victims over running water, they flung a huge rock after the escaping saint, which fell harmlessly to the ground, and which tradition says now forms Dumbarton Rock. {Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology: Scotland}

The belief in magic which appears to have been common in Scotland until a late period was taken with the sailors to other regions far away from the homeland. In the pages of Adamnan, Abbot of Iona (ca. 625-704C.E.), St. Columba and his priest regarded the Druids as magicians, and he countered their sorcery with what was believed to be a superior celestial magic of his own. The actions of Druids was kept alive and they continued to make up stories which many people believed.

In the 17th century while education and even scholarship were comparatively common at this date in Scotland (more common in fact than they were in contemporary England ), the great mass of Scottish people shared abundantly their sovereign’s dread of witches and sorcery. Protestant reformer John Knox, who was accused by the Roman Catholic Church for having by sorcery raised up saints in the churchyard of St. Andrews, when Satan himself was said to have appeared and so terrified Knox’s secretary that he became insane and died. Knox was also charged with using his magical arts in his old age to persuade the beautiful young daughter of Lord Ochiltree to marry him.

The efforts of Knox and his associates had brought about momentous changes in Scottish life, but if the Reformation rejected certain popular beliefs, Presbyterianism (the particular form of Protestant Christianity that came to power in Scotland) undoubtedly tended to introduce others. For that stern Calvinistic faith that now began to take root in Scotland nourished the idea that sickness and accident were a mark of divine anger. This theory did not cease to be common in the north till long after King James’ day. {Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology: Scotland}

Three boys on porch steps cutting faces in pum...

Three boys on porch steps cutting faces in pumpkins. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Immigrants to the U.S., Scots and Irish liking to control the witches and ghosts, introduced the Halloween customs that became popular in the late 19th century. Mischief-making on this occasion by boys and young men included overturning sheds and outhouses and breaking windows, and damage to property was sometimes severe. In later years, the occasion has come to be observed mainly by small children, who go from to house, often in costume, demanding “trick or treat” (the treat, often candy, is gene given and the trick rarely played).

A common symbol of Halloween is the jacko’-lantern (the name possibly was derived from that for a night watchman). It is a hollowed-out pumpkin carved in the appearance of a demonic face and with a lighted candle inside. In Scotland a turnip was used, but the native pumpkin was substituted in the U.S.

The tradition to pull grotesque faces or grin (Scottish verb, “to girn”), may find its origin in the name of a medieval fiend, the last shadow of some Teutonic or Celtic deity of unlovable attributes.

All Hallows’ Eve

Pomona who scorned the love of the woodland gods Silvanus and Picus, but married Vertumnus after he tricked her, disguised as an old woman. – Nicolas Fouché, c. 1700

All Hallows’ Eve (the evening before All Hallows’ Day) may even found its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds and wood nymph, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain“, which comes from the Old Irish for “summer’s end”. It is thought that in this liminal time the spirits or fairies (the Aos Sí) can more easily come into our world and be particularly active. {Monaghan, p.41; O’Halpin, Andy. Ireland: An Oxford Archaeological Guide. Oxford University Press, 2006. p.236}

In Druidism, and/or Wicca picked the belief of Samhaim being a Celtic Death God was accepted as valid, but this is one of the most tenacious errors associated with Halloween. No such God ever existed.

Witchcraft and, more commonly, sorcery, malevolent magic, appear to have been practiced in the earliest historical and traditional times in Scotland. It is related that during the reign of Natholocus in the second century there lived in Iona a witch of great renown, so celebrated for her marvelous power that the king sent one of his captains to consult her regarding the issue of a rebellion then troubling his kingdom. The witch declared that within a short period the king would be murdered, not by his open enemies but by one of his most favored friends, in whom he had most special trust. The messenger inquired the assassin’s name. “Even by thine own hands as shall be well known within these few days,” replied the witch.

The pagan observances influenced the Chris­tian festival of All Hallows’ Eve, celebrated on the same date. By the late 1990’s many secular sources such as newspapers and television programs had picked up the error of the Samhaim god and propagated it widely. It is now a nearly universal belief, particularly among conservative Protestants.

Gradually, Halloween became a secular observance, and many cus­toms and practices developed. In Scotland young people assembled for games to ascer­tain which of them would marry, during the year and in what order the marriages would occur. Many Halloween customs have become games played by children, but the last few years adults are again participating more.

Modern-day Samhain

Modern-day Samhain is the day when many Wiccans believe that their god dies, later to be reborn. [Wicca is a Neo-pagan, Earth-centered religion.] For those witchcraft practitioners and for many Satanists Samhain is not a god of death; it actually began as a yearly observance of the death of a god.

There may have been a little known character named Samain or Sawan who played the role of a very minor hero in Celtic mythology. His main claim to fame was that Balor of the Evil Eye stole his magical cow. His existence is little known, even among Celtic historians. He was a hero, not a god. It is likely that he was named after the end of summer celebration rather than vice-versa. {Isaac Bonewits, W.J, Bethancourt III, a.o.}

The Irish English Dictionary, published by the Irish Texts Society, defines Samhain as follows:

“Samhain, All Hallowtide, the feast of the dead in Pagan and Christian times, signalizing the close of harvest and the initiation of the winter season, lasting till May, during which troops (esp. the Fiann) were quartered.” {Patrick Dineen, “An Irish English Dictionary” (Dublin, 1927), Page 937}

Scottish Radiance writes about Samhain:

“The Celtics believed, that during the winter, the sun god was taken prisoner by Samhain, the Lord of the Dead and Prince of Darkness…On the eve before their new year (October 31), it was believed that Samhain called together all the dead people.” {Scottish Radiance, “The Story of Halloween,” at: http://www.scottishradiance.com/}

Ignorance around Halloween

Most people are ignorant of what Halloween is all about and for that matter don’t care. They often excuse their childish attitude of going up so much in this festival, by saying it is just for fun for the kids. Strangely enough they try to frighten their kids and later when their child is afraid of a spider, of the dark or something else, they say to it not to be silly, though they forget they created the fear for such things.

College students dressed up for Halloween.

College students dressed up for Halloween. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several Americans have grown up trick or treating, not knowing exactly what it means ‘to shoot some one’ ‘or ‘to kill some one’ and not knowing what it was all about, like many in Europe do not know it any more. In several countries there are also church communities which do not mind having haunted houses even in the attic of their little country church or in their parish hall.

In Belgium lots of kids go from door to door, like on the evening preceding Epiphany (twelve days after Christmas) or on ‘three kings’ (January 6 feast of Epiphany) wanting to get as much candy as they can get. This time they say “Trick or treat”. You can wonder why their parents learned them the “trick” as a (usually idle) threat to perform mischief on the home-owners or their property if no treat is given to them.

Practice of souling

This practice of going from door to door came from the “practice of souling” – going from door to door on or about All Souls Day to solicit gifts of food in return for prayers for the dead – evolved from a pagan ritual that was practised all over Europe, possibly as early as the 10th century. In the 14th century it was mentioned by Chaucer as a common Christian tradition. It is still commonplace in many Catholic countries, notably Ireland, where soul-cakes are left out for the departed. In several southern and northern European countries also food and candles are left on the graves to please the dead.

The first reference to the practice under that name in England is John Brand’s Popular Antiquities of Great Britain, 1779:

“On All Saints Day, the poor people go from parish to parish a Souling, as they call it.”

The tradition is that the dead could come out of their graves when they would not find enough for them to live decently in their underworld. If the living would forget them or not give them enough they would come to punish the living. So the living would avoid such punishment by the dead by buying themselves out.

Dressing up and pleasing the dead

In modern times people like to dress up for Halloween and All Hallows’ Day in all sorts of frightening figures with preference to the darker figures and in characters from the underworld, like all sorts of devils. Children and adults alike are made afraid that the devils will catch them and bring them to an underworld where they shall be tortured for ever and burn in hell.

On the night of the last day of October many wear a most evil, horrible, grotesque, rubber mask and have in their hands a pitchfork. Then they go round willing to have the visited home-owners to believe the souls of the dead returned to their original homes, there to be entertained with food. If food and shelter were not provided, these evil spirits would cast spells and cause havoc toward those failing to fulfil their requests.

In the past centuries sacrifices were offered on this night to the dead spirits because it was thought they visited their earthly dwellings and former friends. But seeing it still happening in the 21st century we only can wonder if they really would not believe such a thing, why do they still do it?

It is known that there was a prevailing belief among all nations that at death the souls of the good men were taken possession of by good spirits and carried to paradise. Likewise the souls of the wicked men were left to wonder in the space between the earth and the moon, or consigned to the unseen world, underneath the earth, where unending fire was waiting for them. These wandering spirits were in the habit of haunting the living… But there were means by which ghosts might be exorcised.

To exorcise these ghosts, that is to free yourself from their evil sway, you would have to set out food and provide shelter for them during the night. If they were satisfied with your offerings, they would leave you in peace. If not, they were believed to cast an evil spell on you.

Fellowship with the devils

In modern day Satanism and Witchcraft covens, the 31st of October is the day when Satan himself comes to “fellowship” with his followers.

Central to Satanism was the idea of magic and that extraordinary miracles, if not performed by God in answer to the prayer of one of his servants (i.e., a Christian), had to be accomplished by the devil in cooperation with someone who had made a pact with the devil. On the 31st of October those going around from house to house want to let the other believe they have a pact with that devil so they can arrange thing with the devil for the good but also for the bad.

Once the idea of the pact became commonplace, it was but a short step to the notion of an organized community of devil-worshippers. Some substance was provided by the small pockets of paganism that had not succumbed to the church’s evangelical efforts. {Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology: Satanism)

Satanism had plainly declined by the end of the 1970s; however, in the mid 1980s reports that it had merely gone underground began to surface and the last two years in our village and in some other places in Flanders ritual meetings where the ‘Books of Satan’ (Satanic Bible) were read by ‘clergymen of Satan’ and a sort of Black Mass (a parody of the Roman Catholic Mass) was celebrated in the fields and in the woods. No real infant was been offered, but the sacrifice of an infant-puppet on the bonfires, and the invocation of Satan for the purpose of working malevolent magic (sorcery) was presented in many places.

Throughout the ages many changes may have occurred, but one thing has stayed the same, the practice of giving an “offering” is still kept. Many may say they do it under the name of fun but what is the real meaning for them deep in their heart? Is it so different a practice than in the previous centuries? We do not believe so.  It is still the same as in the old days.

In many parts of the world it is true that even Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, but is it not high time that Christians do think about it seriously?

It may well be that these solemn customs are less pronounced in favour of a more commercialized and secularized celebration in other regions, this also should not have Christians taking part in it.

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 Preceding article:  Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

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Find also to read:

  1. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  2. The imaginational war against Christmas
  3. Halloween custom of the nations
  4. The Soul not a ghost

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  • 5 Things You Never Knew About Canadian Thanksgiving (hellobee.com)
    Canadian Thanksgiving began in 1578 (43 years before American Thanksgiving) as a feast to thank God for the harvest. However, it didn’t have a set date until 1957. We have a 3 day weekend, while most Americans have 4 days.
    +
    Though a dessert-table staple, pumpkin pie differs in Canada. Ours is spicy-sweet, with ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, while typical American pumpkin pie is sweeter and often contains custard. Or so I’m told. Correct me if I’m wrong (either sounds good!).
  • The Ultimate Pumpkin Recipe List: 56 Recipes for Fall (followinginmyshoes.com)
    Everything mentality that all grocery stores and Pinterest embrace this time of year.  And, I’m not just a fan of pumpkin flavored coffee, baked goods and treats … I love pumpkin chili and soup and, at least back in my “pre-grain” free days, pumpkin pasta dishes.  Oh, Mamacita!  “Bring it all to the table” is my mantra — hence, the Ultimate Pumpkin Recipe List you see today.
  • Fall’s Golden Days (homeschoolmosaics.com)
    Fall is a time in our home to catch our breath and hold on…everything starts, school is amped up and running, and we are just trying to get used to our new schedules, hoping I have the brain power to remember we need dinner. We are hoping to implement some Sabbath rest weeks into our school year to give us respite…but, right now, we are nose to the grindstone. I thought it might be fun to share some lesser known holidays for October…maybe you can find one to color your month, bless someone else, or just create a memory together.
  • Halloween Pet Safety Tips (lakeside.com)
    Get special dog treats for Halloween to steer them away from Halloween candy! Children’s candy can be a toxic temptation for pets. Dogs love chocolate, but chocolate does not love them. It contains theobromine which is toxic to pets. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. A few bites of milk chocolate which contains the least amount can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Baking chocolate contains the most — even the smallest amount can kill a dog.
  • The Perfect Pair: Halloween and The Hot Glue Gun (blogs.walmart.com)
    As a working mom of two crazy little boys, I don’t get the chance to flex my crafty muscles as often as I’d like, but I try to make it a priority for Halloween. For my oldest son’s first Halloween, I convinced my mom to knit him a brown bear costume. My husband went to the UC Berkeley, so she trimmed it in gold as a nod to the Golden Bear mascot.
  • 35 Ways to Make Your Halloween Party Food Ghoulish (tipjunkie.com)
    Halloween is the perfect time to get creative with treats, and these Frankenstein Rice Krispie Treats are no exception. They even come with a free printable tag so they are perfect for gift giving. These will be the hit of any Halloween party! {{high fives}}
  • baby halloween costume images (zeehd.com)
  • Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Witch Hats (berries.com)
    How do domestic goddesses (and gods) throw fabulous Halloween parties? The easy way, of course. And nothing’s easier, or more fabulous, than these delicious strawberry witch hats. They’re inspired by our witchy Halloween collection.
  • Will Food Allergy Hysteria Destroy Halloween? (vice.com)
    What would Halloween be without candy? Well, an organization known as FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is trying to find out. This group is putting forth an effort to raise awareness about how soul-crushing Halloween is for children with serious allergies by starting the “Teal Pumpkin Project.” As they state on their site, “The Teal Pumpkin Project is designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies—and to keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all.” They are encouraging people to hand out non-food gifts this year, as well as painting your pumpkins teal to signify to trick-or-treaters that you’re doing so. Teal, as we all know, is the official color of food allergy awareness. Their site even offers suggestions as to what kind of non-food items you can provide for children, some of which include: playing cards, kazoos, stickers, coins, and bookmarks. Sure, these items definitely beat getting raisins or—god forbid—an apple. But the problem is, these items are not candy.

Marriage of Jesus 5 Papyrus fragment in Egyptian Coptic

In the previous chapter we saw how Mary Magdalene was portrayed in the 3° century Pistis Sophia. The 2° century writing of the Gospel of Mary, portrays Mary as a source of secret revelation because of her close relationship to the Saviour. At one point Peter asks,

“Sister, We know that the Saviour loved you more than the rest of women. Tell us the words of the Saviour which you remember – which you know but we do not nor have we heard them” (section 10, trans. George W. MacRae and R. McL. Wilson).

Mary reveals what the master-teacher had told her, not as a physical man on earth, but in a vision. When she would have been the wife of Jesus, why did he not spend time enough with her to talk about such matters and why did he have to come to her in a vision?

Mary reports herself that several of the disciples were none too impressed by Mary’s purported insights into heavenly things. Andrew responded to her revelation by saying

“I at least do not believe that the Saviour said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas” (section 17).

Such remarks, and the one of Peter who asked:

“Did he really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?”

may be inserted in the writings on purpose to give it more credibility? But also from the replies we do not get a clear insight that the woman speaking would have received such a special place to become the spouse of the Messiah. they also seem to doubt that Jesus would have spoken privately to that woman, called Mary Magdalene. Again when she would have been his wife than Jesus would certainly have taken time to speak with her privately.

In the canonic gospels we come to hear Jesus calling Peter a satan. This is now also repeated by Levi who speaks up for Mary. He chides Peter because he has

“always been hot-tempered.”

and says:

“Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Saviour made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Saviour knows her very well. That is why he loved her more than us” (section 18).

For many having in the Gospel of Philip having the most suggestive passage:

“And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?’ The Saviour answered and said to them, ‘Why do I not love you like her?’ When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. Then the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness” (sections 63-63).

Do not be Afraid

Women around Christ – Do not be Afraid (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

The text may very well use the metaphor of kissing to say that Jesus revealed truth to Mary. If this is true, the The Gospel of Philip is consistent with what we have seen elsewhere in the Gnostic gospels. But also by kissing a woman on the mouth this should not yet mean he had a very intimate relationship with her as a lover. He also just could have been very befriended or have considered himself as a protector of her, and as such kissing her affectionately. (In certain cultures it is also not strange to kiss other people on their mouth, without having to be the husband or wife.)

In 2012 professor Karen L. King announced the existence of a papyrus fragment with writing in Egyptian Coptic that includes the words, “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife…'”.  She and her colleague AnneMarie Luijendijk named the fragment the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” for reference purposes. King has stated that the fragment:

“should not be taken as proof that Jesus, the historical person, was actually married”.

The "Gospel of Jesus's Wife," a papyrus written in Coptic and containing text that refers to Jesus being married, is looking more and more like it is not authentic, research is revealing.

The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” a papyrus written in Coptic and containing text that refers to Jesus being married, is looking more and more like it is not authentic, research is revealing.

Papyrological examination, scientific analysis of the ink and papyrus, and various forms of imaging were performed by multiple professional teams. These usually included comparative testing of a fragment of the Gospel of John in Coptic. No evidence of modern fabrication (“forgery”) was then found. Scepsis brought many interested to discuss and research the matter. Today not all are so sure about all the papyrus material being  ancient. Some even say it is clear that it is for 100% a forgery, because even the papyrus may be old the ink is not so old. According to several researchers the papyrus can be dated to the seventh to eighth c.c.e. and might the carbon composition of the ink, too, be consistent with ancient inks. Microscopic imaging was used to investigate whether the ink might be pooled in damaged sections of the fragment in ways that would indicate it had been applied after the damage had already been done. No evidence of such pooling was found.

Harvard University, which announced the papyrus’ discovery, has fallen silent on the artifact, not responding to requests for comment on new developments suggesting the find is a forgery. Giovanni Maria Vian, the editor of the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, had already called it a fake in September 2012 in an editorial that accompanied an article by leading Coptic scholar Alberto Camplani. For him the brownish-yellow, tattered fragment, about one and a half inches by three inches is a “clumsy forgery.”

According to a British theologian the finding of the papyrus could proof what he said already for some time, that:

“God, also known as Yahweh, had a wife named Asherah.”

And that the God had come to earth as a man and has taken a wife here on earth to. In 1967, Raphael Patai was the first historian to mention that the ancient Israelites worshipped both Yahweh and Asherah. The theory has gained new prominence due to the research of Francesca Stavrakopoulou, who began her work at Oxford and is now a senior lecturer in the department of Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter. Last December her findings where again broadcasted on the little screen in Belgium.

Those who consider Jesus to be God and do find he had to have a wife, may find them in both teachings. Some on the other hand say the “mother god Asher” was herself reincarnated in Mary (Maria/Myriam/Miriam), who gave birth to her son Jesus, the “incarnated Yahweh”. Those people do not wonder why their god than would have come to the earth as a reincarnation in the from of Jesus, when the Divine Creator of the World detest those who believe in reincarnations and returning ghosts. Though the Bible is clear that God is a ghost (John 4:24) who can not be seen by man or they would die (Exodus 33:20) and Jesus was seen by many people, who did not die [though God is not a human being or a god who tells lies (Numbers 23:19)].

The papyrus text has been constructed out of small pieces – words or phrases – culled from the Coptic Gospel of Thomas. Yes this gospel keeps turning up.  For those who like jigsaw puzzles and patchwork, here they can find their patchwork of words and phrases which might be copies of writings with lots of fantasy.

According to Karen L. King and AnneMarie Luijendijk

This is the only extant ancient text which explicitly portrays Jesus as referring to a wife.

But she also warned that

It does not, however, provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married, given the late date of the fragment and the probable date of original composition only in the second half of the second century. Nevertheless, if the second century date of composition is correct, the fragment does provide direct evidence that claims about Jesus’s marital status first arose over a century after the death of Jesus in the context of intra-Christian controversies over sexuality, marriage, and discipleship. Just as Clement of Alexandria (d. ca 215 C.E.) described some Christians who insisted Jesus was not married, the fragment suggests that other Christians of that period were claiming that he was married. {See Stromateis III, 6.49; Greek text in Otto Stählin (ed.) Clemens Alexandrinus. Stromata Buch I-VI (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, 1906) 218}

English: Gospel of Mary, discovered in 1896. P...

Gospel of Mary, discovered in 1896. P. Oxyrhynchus L 3525, Papyrology Room, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

High resolution digital photography and additional manipulation with Photoshop also aided in decipherment of both recto and verso, as well as viewing the manuscript itself in daylight and with magnification. Careful examination was also made of certain letters, especially the all-important alpha on the heavily inscribed side of the fragment (“recto”) in line 4, which reads “my wife”. If a sigma had been overwritten by this alpha, the meaning would have been changed from “the woman” to “my wife.” No evidence of overwriting is evident.

King has also done more research on the history of what early Christians had to say about Jesus’s marital status and on the interpretation of the fragment itself. She argues that the main topic of the fragment is to affirm that women who are mothers and wives can be disciples of Jesus — a topic that was hotly debated in early Christianity as celibate virginity increasingly became highly valued. In the previous chapters I spoke about that attitude opposite women. From the canonic gospels we can understand that there were single women, young ones, but also mothers and older women who followed Jesus, becoming his disciples and making themselves new pupils.

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Preceding articles:

Marriage of Jesus 1 Mary, John, Judas, Thomas and Brown

Marriage of Jesus 2 Standard writings about Jesus

Marriage of Jesus 3 Listening women

Marriage of Jesus 4 Place of the woman

To be followed by:

Marriage of Jesus 6 Jesus said to them “My wife”

Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh

Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage

Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant

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Find also:

  1. Translation of Gospel of Jesus’s Wife Papyrus
  2. The Gist
  3. Francis Watson on the papyrus

In Dutch:

  1. Schriftkritiek
  2. Gnostiek, Judas evangelie, bijbelonderricht, zoon van God
  3. Gnostische geschriften toegevoegd aan de Bijbel

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  • Papyrus fragment put to test (news.harvard.edu)
    A wide range of scientific testing indicates that a papyrus fragment containing the words “Jesus said to them, my wife” is an ancient document, dating between the sixth to ninth centuries C.E. Its contents may originally have been composed as early as the second to fourth centuries.
  • ‘Gospel Of Jesus’ Wife’ Papyrus Is Ancient, Not Fake, Experts Say (huffingtonpost.com) incl. Video
    An ancient, business-card-sized papyrus fragment that appears to quote Jesus Christ discussing his wife is real, Harvard University announced Thursday. The fragment caused international uproar when it was revealed by a Harvard historian in September 2012, with prominent academics and the Vatican swiftly deeming it a forgery.
  • How the ‘Jesus’ Wife’ Hoax Fell Apart (online.wsj.com)
    Then last week the story began to crumble faster than an ancient papyrus exposed in the windy Sudan. Mr. Askeland found, among the online links that Harvard used as part of its publicity push, images of another fragment, of the Gospel of John, that turned out to share many similarities—including the handwriting, ink and writing instrument used—with the “wife” fragment. The Gospel of John text, he discovered, had been directly copied from a 1924 publication.”Two factors immediately indicated that this was a forgery,” Mr. Askeland tells me. “First, the fragment shared the same line breaks as the 1924 publication. Second, the fragment contained a peculiar dialect of Coptic called Lycopolitan, which fell out of use during or before the sixth century.” Ms. King had done two radiometric tests, he noted, and “concluded that the papyrus plants used for this fragment had been harvested in the seventh to ninth centuries.” In other words, the fragment that came from the same material as the “Jesus’ wife” fragment was written in a dialect that didn’t exist when the papyrus it appears on was made.
  • ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ Looks More and More Like a Fake (nbcnews.com)
    since the investigation was published, Live Science has been in contact with an agency in Berlin that issues permits for the exportation of antiquities. Representatives of that agency said they could find no record that a papyrus like this had been exported from their office. It’s possible that the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife papyrus was exported from elsewhere in Germany or from the European Union.
  • Radical feminists say it’s misogynist to reveal “Jesus’ wife” hoax (revisionistreview.blogspot.com)
    I’ve counted 10 different university-level scholars chiming in on two different online sites to heap coals upon the head of anyone who dares to think that King made a mistake, or that she should have consulted a wider range of experts before she helped the Smithsonian turn the papyrus scrap into a television documentary (which finally aired May 5) rather than afterward, as she did.
    +
    On May 5, the online magazine Religion Dispatches, published by USC’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism, featured an article by Eva Mroczek, a religious studies professor at Indiana University, complaining about the title of one of Askeland’s blog posts: Jesus Had an Ugly Sister-in-Law.” Illustrated by a Walt Disney still of Cinderella’s homely siblings (stepsisters, not sisters, but close), Mroczek’s article took Askeland to task for “the sexist language — the use of an ugly woman as a metaphor for a sloppy, forged, worthless text.”Poor Askeland! Bet he never thought that calling a scrap of papyrus “ugly” was a misogynist attack on women! Even Bagnall had deemed the Jesus’ Wife fragment “ugly” in a 2012 interview in the Boston Globe. Mroczek had earlier taken Askeland to task about the word “ugly” in a comment on his blog post. And after Mroczek’s article appeared, he edited the word out of the post’s title.
  • New evidence casts doubt on ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
    Anonymity, in the world of antiquities, is often a bad sign, compounding the inherent uncertainty when dealing with texts that are bought and sold rather than discovered in a firm archaeological setting.Then there were aspects of the text itself that seemed suspicious.For a fragmented scrap of papyrus, it seemed to have an awful lot of important content on it. Not only did Jesus refer to “my wife,” he also potentially described a certain Mary – perhaps Mary Magdalene? – as “worthy” and capable of being a disciple.It is (almost) too good to be true.At the same time, the handwriting seemed surprisingly sloppy.
  • Historian Says Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife (nytimes.com)
    Dr. King first learned about what she calls “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” when she received an e-mail in 2010 from a private collector who asked her to translate it. Dr. King, 58, specializes in Coptic literature, and has written books on the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Mary of Magdala, Gnosticism and women in antiquity.The owner, who has a collection of Greek, Coptic and Arabic papyri, is not willing to be identified by name, nationality or location, because, Dr. King said, “He doesn’t want to be hounded by people who want to buy this.”When, where or how the fragment was discovered is unknown. The collector acquired it in a batch of papyri in 1997 from the previous owner, a German. It came with a handwritten note in German that names a professor of Egyptology in Berlin, now deceased, and cited him calling the fragment “the sole example” of a text in which Jesus claims a wife.
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Marriage of Jesus 4 Place of the woman

Several people would like to see the non-canonical gospels as reliable historical sources, which should have to be part of the Bible. In case they would have to be part of the Scriptures, first of all we could question why they were not recognised by God as part of His Word and protected as such. The time laps between the last writings by the apostles and the later writers is also too big. For the authorship most credible scholars date the writing of the non-canonical gospels in the second or third century C.E. (with the possible exception of the Gospel of Thomas, which may have been written in late 1st or early 2nd century).

These texts are so called to be written by original disciples of Jesus, including Mary, but these disciples had nothing to do with the actual writing of the extra-biblical gospels.

Gheorghe Tattarescu - Magdalena,

Gheorghe Tattarescu – Magdalena, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The repeated reference in the Gnostic texts of Mary as being loved by Jesus more than the others has been seen as supporting the theory that the Beloved Disciple in the canonical Gospel of John was originally Mary Magdalene, before being later redacted in the Gospel. In case she would have been the wife of Jesus it is strange that we can find in the Gospel of Thomas, Simon Peter asking to Jesus that Mary would leave them.

“for women are not worthy of Life.” {Gospel of Thomas}

Would a disciple say something like that to their teacher, when that person is his wife? In reply Jesus said:

“I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” {Gospel of Thomas; section 114; trans. Thomas O. Lambdin}

In here there is also no speak of transgender issues, having females to become male. In that time saying to be a male, had to do with being strong or making decisions.  I also agree there was still at that time the higher position of the male figure. As such talking about being or behaving as a male should be taken as a symbol of the person his or her spiritual or divine nature.

In The Dialogue of the Saviour there is also no hint to be found that the man of the dialogue, who is Jesus the Christos or Christ, would have been the husband of Mary.

In The Pistis Sophia Jesus calls the woman Mary the blessed one, beyond all women upon the earth,

“because [she shall be] the pleroma of all Pleromas and the completion of all completions” (section 19).

Male figures may have been considered the ones who could best present their knowledge. But in the writings of the New Testament we also can find women who read the Bible in front of children and slaves, so that they also could hear and grow up with the knowledge of the Good News. Such women, like Mary where considered worthy followers by Jesus, because they fulfilled the task given by him to spread the Good News. Their witnessing brings proof of their “fullness of knowledge” and therefore of the “spiritual life within them”.  In the Gnostic Gospels Jesus is shown to be impressed with Mary’s spiritual excellence that he promises not to conceal anything from her, but to reveal everything to her

“with certainty and openly” (section 25).

She is the blessed one, who will

“inherit the whole Kingdom of the Light” (section 61).

In none of the books is written that she would come to sit next to Christ and his Father. In case those writers really thought Mary Magdalene was the wife of Christ, would God not have placed her sitting next to her husband?

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Preceding articles:

Marriage of Jesus 1 Mary, John, Judas, Thomas and Brown

Marriage of Jesus 2 Standard writings about Jesus

Marriage of Jesus 3 Listening women

To be followed by:

Marriage of Jesus 5 Papyrus fragment  in Egyptian Coptic

Marriage of Jesus 6 Jesus said to them “My wife”

Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh

Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage

Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant

+++

  • The Top Six Alternate Gospels and Scriptures (glitternight.com)
    Everyone but the most sheltered Christians have known for centuries about the alternate, or apocryphal gospels. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were the four canonical or “official” gospels that were accepted by the mainstream church but there were dozens of other gospels with wildly varying versions of the story of Jesus.
  • The Importance of Mary Magdalene in the Gnostic Gospels (writedge.com)
    Most of us have grown up knowing Mary Magdalene, but with not enough information about her part in the Christian story. In the New Testament, she has a relatively minor role beyond her witnessing the resurrected Jesus in the Gospel of John, but in the Gnostic Gospels, her role is much more important. In them, she not only is the witness to the Resurrection, but an important disciple of Jesus, and possibly his lover or wife.
    +
    This example shows her not only to have received new teachings from Jesus, it also shows the opposition and prejudice she faced from most of Jesus’ male disciples due to her being a woman. In the Jewish culture of Jesus’ day, women were considered to be and treated as inferior to men; therefore, it comes as no surprise that Mary Magdalene would be put down by most of the male disciples, and her presence would be opposed by them. This prejudice against women would later carry on in to Petrine/Pauline Christianity, which still today, in spite of progress made in such churches as the Anglican and Episcopal churches allowing women to take more leadership roles such as joining the priesthood, for instance, besets much of the Christian religion, ranging from the Roman Catholic Church’s continuing opposition to women joining the priesthood to fundamentalist Protestantism’s insistence on women’s only role being that of the stay-at-home wife and mother, and its continuing attempt to turn the clock back on women’s rights to an idealized 1950s in the United States.
  • The Resurrection Myth (venitism.blogspot.com)
    Jesus was a lower-class bisexual preacher from Galilee, who, in hysterical apocalyptic fashion, proclaimed that the end of history as he knew it was going to come to a crashing end, within his own generation. God was soon to intervene in the course of worldly affairs to overthrow the forces of evil and set up a utopian kingdom on earth. It didn’t happen. Instead of being involved with the destruction of God’s enemies, Jesus was unceremoniously crushed by them: arrested, tried, humiliated, tortured, and publicly executed.Soon afterwards his followers began to say that, despite all evidence to the contrary, Jesus really was the messiah sent from God.
  • A Kiss Before Crucifying (vovatia.wordpress.com)
    Gnosticism predates Christianity, and Ehrman proposes that it was a response to Jewish apocalypticism. The apocalyptic view is that, while evil forces are now in charge of the world, God is ultimately in control and will soon set things right. Jesus himself is generally regarded as an apocalyptic preacher, but since there were elements of his teachings that presented a less worldly and more ideal view than traditional Judaism, Gnostics gladly adopted him as a mouthpiece for their own views. In their belief, Jesus was not the son and representative of the Demiurge worshipped by mainstream Jews, but rather of a higher, non-material god.
  • The Forbidden Gospel of Mary Magdalene (humansarefree.com)
    For Jean Yves-Leloup, the founder of the Institute of Other Civilisation Studies and the International College of Therapists, Mary Magdalene is the intimate friend of Jesus and the initiate who transmits his most subtle teachings.His translation of the Gospel of Mary is presented in his book The Gospel of Mary Magdalene along with a commentary on the text which was discovered in 1896, nearly 50 years before the Gnostic Gospels at Nag Hammadi were found.

    The Gospel of Mary can easily be divided into two parts. The first section (7,1-9,24) describes the dialogue between the risen Christ and the disciples. He answers their questions concerning matter and sin.
    +
    The second section of the text (10,1-23; 15,1-19,2) contains a description by Mary of special revelation given to her by Christ. At Peter’s request, she tells the disciples about things that were hidden from them.

  • Was Jesus Married? (part One) Nothing in the Bible Says He Was and Nothing in the Bible Says He Was Not***so After You Read the Below You Be the Judge and Get Ready for the Religious Shock of Your Life***from Tlgrwcorporate (tlgrwcorporate.wordpress.com)
    There is no hint in The Dialogue of the Savior of a marriage between Jesus and Mary (or the Savior and Mary). She is seen, once again, as central among the disciples of the Savior, and as a person with special insight.
    +
    The silence of the New Testament gospels has given rise to a cacophony of conflicting voices. Some see in these writings a plot to cover up the truth about Jesus. Others see the silence of the gospels as proof that Jesus could not have been married. It does seem rather fantastic to imagine that if Jesus had been married to Miriam of Magdala, whom we know as Mary Magdalene, or to any other woman for that matter, this fact would have been completely omitted from all of the earliest records of Jesus’ life. Those who claim that the earliest Christians conspired to hide this information because it confirmed the fact that Jesus wasn’t divine forget that the supposed conspirators often gave their lives because they believed Jesus to have been divine. Would they have died for something they knew to be a lie? I rather doubt it.
  • Jesus Chooses the Twelve Disciples // Jesus Teaches and Heals (travismikhailblog.wordpress.com)
    apostles: Those who will preach the gospel and lead the early Church. They are emissaries invested with Christ’s royal and priestly authority. Like the 12 patriarchs of Israel (Gen 35:22-26), Jesus chooses 12 men to be the father figures of the renewed kingdom of Israel, the Church.
  • Scientific Tests Show ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ Wasn’t Faked (nbcnews.com)
    The studies, published Thursday in the Harvard Theological Review, represent the latest chapter in the years-long saga surrounding what Harvard theologian Karen King has dubbed the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. King brought the text into the global spotlight in September 2012, at a symposium in Rome, but the publication of her analysis was held up for more than a year when questions were raised about the text’s authenticity.
    +
    “These kinds of texts are notoriously repetitious,” he told NBC News. “The problem is, this gets sensationalized. What it proves is something we already knew, that certain Gnostic groups in the second, third and fourth centuries did think of Mary as Jesus’ companion. We just didn’t have that word ‘wife.'”
  • Religulous Hoi Polloi (venitism.blogspot.com)
    Religious practices change all the time—just ask Catholics who celebrated mass in Latin until the 1960s or Protestant groups that started ordaining women as ministers in the 1970s. But are there certain core beliefs that can never change?Conservative theologians within the church argue that Schaefer’s defrocking was justified because church law, by definition, must be upheld—otherwise, it is not a church law. They maintain that homosexuals are welcome in the church, but that one should abstain from the practice of homosexuality.
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Lord in place of the divine name

Substitutions Kyrios (Lord) and Theos (God)

English: Page from the Dutsch Professorenbijbe...

Page from the Dutch Professorenbijbel (“Professors Bible”), a translation of the Latin Vulgate of the Books of the New Testament. This part, covering the Pentateuch, was published in 1904. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the second or third century of the Common Era, the scribes substituted the words Ky′ri·os (Lord) and The·os′ (God) for the divine name, Jehovah, in copies of the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. Other translations, such as the Latin Vulgate, the Douay Version (based on the Vulgate), and the King James Version, as well as numerous modern translations (NE, AT, RS, NIV, TEV, NAB), followed a similar practice. The divine name was replaced by the terms “God” and “Lord,” generally in all-capital letters in English to indicate the substitution for the Tetragrammaton, or divine name.

In departing from this practice, the translation committee of the American Standard Version of 1901 stated:

“The American Revisers, after a careful consideration, were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament, as it fortunately does not in the numerous versions made by modern missionaries. . . . This personal name [Jehovah], with its wealth of sacred associations, is now restored to the place in the sacred text to which it has an unquestionable claim.”—AS preface, p. iv.

The Tetragrammaton rendered into a name

A number of translations since then (An, JB [English and French], NC, BC [both in Spanish], and others) have consistently rendered the Tetragrammaton as “Yahweh” or have used a similar form.

English: Picture

The New World Translation of the Holy Scriputres (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Under the heading Jehovah (In the Christian Greek Scriptures), evidence is also presented to show that the divine name, Jehovah, was used in the original writings of the Christian Greek Scriptures, from Matthew to Revelation. On this basis, the New World Translation, used throughout this work, has restored the divine name in its translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, doing so a total of 237 times. Other translations had made similar restorations, particularly when translating the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew.

When discussing “Restoring the Divine Name,” the New World Bible Translation Committee states:

“To know where the divine name was replaced by the Greek words Κύριος and Θεός, we have determined where the inspired Christian writers have quoted verses, passages and expressions from the Hebrew Scriptures and then we have referred back to the Hebrew text to ascertain whether the divine name appears there. In this way we determined the identity to give Ky′ri·os and The·os′ and the personality with which to clothe them.”

Explaining further, the Committee said:

“To avoid overstepping the bounds of a translator into the field of exegesis, we have been most cautious about rendering the divine name in the Christian Greek Scriptures, always carefully considering the Hebrew Scriptures as a background. We have looked for agreement from the Hebrew versions to confirm our rendering.”

Such agreement from Hebrew versions exists in all the 237 places that the New World Bible Translation Committee has rendered the divine name in the body of its translation. — NW appendix, pp. 1564-1566.

To impede spreading the name of God

Already from the beginning of times there were people who did not like to spread the name of the Divine Creator. We should all be aware nothing has changed Who created all wonders of nature. Several people do everything to have the Name of the Divine Creator not be known. they would not like to see others having enjoying a close relationship with Him who is the Sovereign Master.

We do know that the world speaks about a lot of gods. We also should come to recognise that there is an evil foe. The Bible explains:

“The god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.”

The god of this present ungodly world is also called “Satan“, which means the “Adversary“. There are many adversaries of God in this world. They not only blaspheme the Name of God. They want to keep you in darkness so that your heart will not be illuminated with “the glorious knowledge of God.”

“Satan” or the adversary does not want you to know Jehovah by name. How, though, does Satan blind people’s minds?

4 Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy that was shown us, we do not give up. But we have renounced the shameful, underhanded things, not walking with cunning or adulterating the word of God;+ but by making the truth manifest, we recommend ourselves to every human conscience in the sight of God.+ If, in fact, the good news we declare is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things*+ has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,+ so that the illumination* of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God,+ might not shine through.+For we are preaching, not about ourselves, but about Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For God is the one who said: “Let the light shine out of darkness,”+ and he has shone on our hearts to illuminate them+ with the glorious knowledge of God by the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:1-4-6).

Blinding the world

The gods of this world blind many and the adversaries of God managed to get far by creating a lot of confusion in people’s mind. Certainly with taking away the Name of God out of the Holy Bible or the Holy Scriptures they managed it that many became so confused that they could not see clear any more in the different characters of figures in the Bible.  seeing at so many places the world ‘lord’ they do not know any more of which lord is been spoken. As such “Satan” has also used false religion to hinder people from coming to know God by name.
For example, in ancient times some Jews chose to ignore the inspired Scriptures in favour of tradition that called for avoiding the use of God’s name. By the first centuries of our Common Era, Jewish public readers had evidently been instructed, not to read God’s name as it appeared in their Holy Scriptures, but to substitute the word ʼAdho·nai′, meaning “Lord.” Doubtless, this practice contributed to a tragic decline in spirituality.

Jesus making the Name of his Father known

Many lost out on the benefits of a close personal relationship with God.
What, though, about Jesus?
What was his attitude toward Jehovah’s name?

Jesus declared in prayer to his Father:

“I have made your name known . . . and will make it known.” (John 17:26)

Jesus would undoubtedly have pronounced God’s name on numerous occasions when he read, quoted, or explained portions of the Hebrew Scriptures containing that important name. Jesus would thus have used God’s name just as freely as all the prophets did before him. If any Jews were already avoiding the use of God’s name during the time of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus would certainly not have followed their tradition. He strongly criticized the religious leaders when he said to them:

“You have made the word of God invalid because of your tradition.” (Matthew 15:6).

We should wonder if we would like to take the tradition of those Jews or certain churches, and continue not using the Name of God.

Continuation of the use of God’s Name

Faithful followers of Jesus continued to make God’s name known after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus’ apostles and disciples continued in the tradition of their master teacher and used God’s name in their inspired writings.

Professor Howard notes:

“When the Septuagint which the New Testament church used and quoted contained the Hebrew form of the divine name, the New Testament writers no doubt included the Tetragrammaton in their quotations.”

At Pentecost 33 C.E., the very day the Christian congregation was formed, the apostle Peter, quoting from a prophecy of Joel, said to a multitude of Jews and proselytes:

“Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” (Acts 2:21)

32 And it must occur that everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe;+ for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will prove to be the escaped ones,+ just as Jehovah has said, and in among the survivors,* whom Jehovah is calling.”*+ (Joel 2:32)

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah* will be saved.”+ (Romans 10:13)

Calling onto lords

All those translations where is only written ” that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” do not give a clear picture which lord has to be called on. Translations which use: “whoever calls on the name of ADONAI will be saved.’” however do not leave a doubt. In the early 20th century Bible translations in case the Name of God was not used they mostly placed full capitals, so that people still could see that it was the Lord God been spoken of and not the Lord Jesus Christ. But nearing the end of the 20th century the use of capitals was put aside and people could not see any difference between the Lord God Jehovah (Lord of Lord of lords) or His son the Lord of lords or Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus Christ.

Many miraculously shaped in their mother’s womb, got their cells and their DNA sown by the Most High Creator of heaven and earth. You would think they would like to know the Founder of their being and to get a good relation with Him. For building a good relation we do have to come to know the person very well. And when we do really love somebody we do use his or her name and not a detached “sir”, “lord” or “madam” or “misses”.

Early Christians helped people from many nations to come to know Jehovah by name. Thus, in a meeting of the apostles and older men in Jerusalem, the disciple James said:

“God . . . turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14).

Satan sowing apostasy by no proper name

Nevertheless, the enemy of God’s name did not give up. Once the apostles were dead, the opponents of God, the wicked ones and His enemies, wasted no time in sowing apostasy.

38 the field is the world.+ As for the fine seed, these are the sons of the Kingdom, but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one,+39 and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things,* and the reapers are angels.(Matthew 13:38, 39)

2 However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you.+ These will quietly bring in destructive sects, and they will even disown the owner who bought them,+ bringing speedy destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1)

For example, the nominal Christian writer Justin Martyr was born about the time John, the last of the apostles, died. Yet, Justin repeatedly insisted in his writings that the Provider of all things is

“a God who is called by no proper name.”

Replacing the Name

When apostate Christians made copies of the Christian Greek Scriptures, they evidently took Jehovah’s personal name out of the text and substituted Ky′ri·os, the Greek word for “Lord.” The Hebrew Scriptures did not fare any better. No longer reading God’s name aloud, apostate Jewish scribes replaced the divine name in their Scriptures with ʼAdho·nai′ more than 130 times. The influential translation of the Bible into Latin that was completed by Jerome in 405 C.E. and that came to be called the Vulgate similarly omitted the personal name of God.

Vulgate Clementine, edition from 1714

Vulgate Clementine, edition from 1714 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, scholars are aware that Jehovah’s personal name appears some 7,000 times in the Bible. Thus, some widely used translations, such as the Catholic Jerusalem Bible, the Catholic La Biblia Latinoamérica in Spanish, and the popular Reina-Valera version, also in Spanish, freely use God’s personal name. Some translations render God’s name “Yahweh.”

Sadly, many churches that sponsor Bible translations pressure scholars into omitting God’s name from their translations of the Bible. For example, in a letter dated June 29, 2008, to presidents of Catholic bishops’ conferences, the Vatican stated:

“In recent years the practice has crept in of pronouncing the God of Israel’s proper name.”

The letter gives this pointed direction:

“The name of God . . . is neither to be used or pronounced.”

Furthermore,

“for the translation of the Biblical text in modern languages, . . . the divine tetragrammaton is to be rendered by the equivalent of Adonai/Kyrios:Lord.’”

Clearly, this Vatican directive is aimed at eliminating the use of God’s name.

Protestants have been no less disrespectful in their treatment of Jehovah’s name. A spokesman for the Protestant-sponsored New International Version, published in English in 1978, wrote:

“Jehovah is a distinctive name for God and ideally we should have used it. But we put 214 million dollars into this translation and a sure way of throwing that down the drain is to translate, for example, Psalm 23 as, ‘Yahweh is my shepherd.’”

In addition, churches have hindered Latin Americans from knowing God by name. Steven Voth, a translation consultant for the United Bible Societies (UBS), writes:

“One of the ongoing debates in Latin American Protestant circles revolves around the use of the name Jehová . . . Interestingly enough, a very large and growing neo-pentecostal church . . . said they wanted a Reina-Valera 1960 edition, but without the name Jehová. Instead, they wanted the word Señor [Lord].”

According to Voth, the UBS rejected this request at first but later gave in and published an edition of the Reina-Valera Bible “without the word Jehová.”

Bibles using Lord instead of NameDeleting God’s name from his written Word and replacing it with “Lord” hinders readers from truly knowing who God is. Such a substitution creates confusion.
For example, a reader may not be able to discern whether the term “Lord” refers to Jehovah or to his Son, Jesus. Thus, in the scripture in which the apostle Peter quotes David as saying:

“Jehovah said to my Lord [the resurrected Jesus]: ‘Sit at my right hand,’”

many Bible translations read:

“The Lord said to my Lord.” (Acts 2:34, NIV)

In addition, David Clines, in his essay “Yahweh and the God of Christian Theology,” points out:

“One result of the absence of Yahweh from Christian consciousness has been the tendency to focus on the person of Christ.”

Thus, many churchgoers are hardly aware that the true God to whom Jesus directed his prayers is a Person with a name — Jehovah.

Learn to know and use God His Name

You may be convinced that it does not really matter, but did you ever thought it perhaps could be really very important. those who pray ‘the Lord’s prayer’ did they ever think what it would mean to “hallow God His Name”?

As it was important for the son of God, Jeshua (Jesus Christ) to have people get to know his Father’s Name, it is still important today that as many people as possible come to get to know the Name of the Most High God. It is true our world still may see a war going on against the divine name and against those who like to use the Name of God. The adversary of God has cleverly used false religion in the process. However, the reality is that no power in heaven or on earth can stop the Sovereign Lord Jehovah from making His name known to those who want to know the truth about him and his glorious purpose for faithful humans.

If you are interested in getting to know more about that God with His special or set-apart (holy) name, we would be pleased to come to talk with you are to bring you in contact with people who could give you a Bible study. May we first advice you to start yourself putting all doctrines you might have learned in your early church life or of which you might have heard, to put them away, to have an open mind to receive the words of the scriptures like they come to you.

To have not to many difficulties to know about whom is spoken, you best use a Bible where the Name of God is used, either by the placing of the Tetragammaton or by the Name Jehovah or Yahweh. choosing a Bible with Jehovah His name in it, you soon will get the picture and shall come to understand who is who.

Please do not hesitate to ask us question should they arise, and make an effort to regularly read the Bible, the Word of God.

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Preceding: Lord and owner

Tetragrammaton in Phoenician (1100 BC to 300 C...

Tetragrammaton in Phoenician (1100 BC to 300 CE), Aramaic (10th Century BC to 0) and modern Hebrew scripts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Of interest:

  1. Appointed to be read
  2. The Bible and names in it
  3. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  4. The Divine name of the Creator
  5. Hashem השם, Hebrew for “the Name”
  6. Titles of God beginning with the Aleph in Hebrew
  7. God about His name “יהוה“
  8. Attributes to God
  9. Archeological Findings the name of God YHWHUse of /Gebruik van Jehovah or/of Yahweh in Bible Translations/Bijbel vertalingen
  10. Hebrew, Aramaic and Bibletranslation
  11. What English Bible do you use?
  12. The Most Reliable English Bible
  13. King James Bible Coming into being
  14. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  15. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  16. New American Bible Revised Edition
  17. The NIV and the Name of God
  18. Anchor Yale Bible
  19. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  20. Some Restored Name Versions
  21. Christian clergyman defiling book which did not belong to him
  22. Election of the Apostle Matthias
  23. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  24. Jehovah in the BASF
  25. Another way looking at a language #6 Set apart
  26. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother

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From other websites:

  1. Humbled in my bed.
    I truly owe it all to Him. He has given me so much. So much.All I know About Divine Healing
    While there do seem to be particular individuals that the Lord provides the gift of healing to on a more regular basis it seems that healing in the Christian church is more about corporate faith than it is about individual faith.  There is also a somewhat inexplicable nature to who gets healed and who does not get healed and the reasons why healing does or does not occur.
    +
    I know it doesn’t make sense to cooperate with a supreme being who has no need of you. But while I have been very perplexed by the role of Sovereignty in Divine healing I have also come to recognize the role of human agency. That God has a specific Will that people can know and act on, and if they do not act upon will not happen, is a rather strange concept to a Calvinist. Yet, again and again I have seen this principle demonstrated in the healing ministry.
  2. Why Is God’s Name Missing From Many Bibles ?
    God does not need to be distinguished from other gods.
      Some translators have made this statement.  Who are we to say that God doesn’t need a name ?  God deemed it necessary to name all the stars in the heavens, and to place his name upon people that he liked, and upon places that were important to him.  His own word the Bible – emphasizes the importance of a name.  The translators of the Bible did not remove Satan’s name from the Bible – nor did they remove the names of numerous false gods from the Bible.“non-superstitious Jewish translators always favored the name Jehovah in their translations of the Bible.
    On the other hand one can note that there is NO Jewish translation of the Bible with Yahweh.”
    M. Gérard GERTOUX; a Hebrew scholar, specialist of the Tetragram; president of the Association Biblique de Recherche d’Anciens Manuscrits
  3. I Love You Jehovah
    Jehovah you’re name I’ll defend I’ll declare all your wonders right down to the end You’re the light of my life the breath of my days the beauty of children the warmth of sun’s rays You give me great hope when life’s looking bleak the words in your Bible of wisdom they speak Oh Jehovah […]“Jehovah” and “Jehoshua”
    Call upon ”Jehovah” and His Saviour  The Jews looked forward to a Jewish Messiah that would be sent to them by Jehovah God. This Messiah would bring Salvation to them. He was to be Jehovah’s means of Salvation – hence, he would bear the name “Jehoshua”which means Jehovah’s Salvation. All this information was snuffed out by the Romans when they attempted to blot out the Jewish Connections to Christ.
    The Romans made Christianity their state religion shortly after the Apostles died.  The Romans corrupted Christianity to a great degree, by destroying Christ’s connections to Judaism and replacing them with pagan religious teachings and holidays.
    Correctores were hired to alter the bible in thousands of places – in an attempt to distance Christ from his Jewish heritage.  The name of Jehovah was replaced by “LORD” or “GOD”. Other scriptures were also deleted, added or altered in order to support the new state religion.

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  • ΠΙΠΙ and the Use of Hebrew in Greek Manuscripts (glanier.wordpress.com)
    One of the most fascinating parts of the seminar involved reading an old fragment of the Greek translation of Deuteronomy 31, during which one of the professors in attendance made what we thought was a joke about early Christians misreading the name for the LORD in the synagogue and saying “Pipi.” Turns out…he wasn’t joking. The reason behind this embarrassing mistake provides a nice little (short) tour into the world of scribal habits and ancient manuscripts.
    +
    According to Jewish tradition as later codified in the Mishnah (specifically the Halakha), when the Hebrew Bible was read in the synagogue by Jews – and possibly even earlier in the first temple period, though that is debated – the covenant name of God was usually not pronounced (according to some Jewish writings, YHWH could be spoken, or, rather, sung, in some circumstances, such as priestly prayer or when reciting the Numbers 6 benediction). Rather, they substituted “Adonai” any time YHWH appeared in the text, and if they needed to refer to YHWH as the written name, they usually called it “HaShem” (The Name). Honoring this tradition, the Masoretes inserted the vowels for “Adonai” everywhere YHWH appeared, functioning as a sort of global “replace-all” to indicate what should be read aloud (qere) from the written text (kethiv).
  • How Accurate is the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures? (illustrationstoencourage.wordpress.com)
    Prior to the release of the New World Translation (NWT), Jehovah’s Witnesses generally used theKing James Version or the American Standard Version of the Bible. Early literature produced by the Witnesses quotes these versions and uses them for source documentation. Because of the fact these versions employed the use of the English language in its antiquated form, a need arose to have a modern translation that updated such dated vernacular.
    +
    Consider, it was not merely by chance that Jesus taught his followers to put God’s name first in their prayers. (John 6:9) That name was clearly of crucial importance to him, since he mentioned it repeatedly in his very own prayers. On one occasion when he was praying publicly to God, Jesus was heard to say, “Father, glorify your name!” And God himself answered, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” (John 12:28, the Jerusalem Bible.) This is one of the three recorded times that God himself spoke directly from the heavens to the earth. Clearly, an important issue.
  • Has anyone else noticed the profound disrespect (thevoiceofmary.wordpress.com)
    Expressions such as G..d..n are commonly used in all, or most languages, everyday. This kind of abusive talk demeans Jehovah and his grand name. It should reflect on our lack of accurate knowledge; and a flagrant contempt for Jehovah and his magnificent name. Who among us would appreciate the name of a loved-one used in this insulting context? God has seen his name and reputation sullied over the centuries.Names designate and distinguish us from others. Our name identifies us as this specific individual, with these particular qualities. It is one of the most important ways a person is known and recognized. His name, Jehovah represents him. Jehovah is the name of the one true God. God’s name was chosen by him. For an individual to know God and all that his name means and represents, signifies more than a mere acquaintance with the word. (1Chron. 6:33) It actually means knowing the person—-his purposes, activities and qualities as revealed in his word.

    When people use titles such as; God, Lord, Dios, or Theo instead of using his personal name, Jehovah becomes devoid of distinction and identity, as the rightful sovereign of the universe. They mistakenly believe these words are God’s name. God spelled with a capitol “G,” is defined as a being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, originator and ruler of the universe. He is the principle object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions; also defined as a very handsome man and/or a powerful ruler or despot. Does anyone see the abject manner in which our loving Father is treated; the desecration of his holy name.

  • The Divine Name and Greek Translation (larryhurtado.wordpress.com)
    In comments to my previous posting (about some recently published Oxyrhynchus papyri), the question was raised about how the divine name (YHWH; יהוה) was handled in earliest Greek translations of the Hebrew scriptures.  In Septuagint manuscripts (dating from ca. 3rd century CE and later), “Kyrios” (Greek: “Lord”) is used rather frequently.  But some have proposed that the earliest practice was fairly consistently to translate YHWH with “Kyrios” (κυριος), others that the Hebrew divine name was initially rendered phonetically as ΙΑΩ (“Iao”), and others that the divine name was originally retained in Hebrew characters.  To my knowledge, the most recent discussion of the matter is the recent journal article by Martin Rösel, “The Reading and Translation of the Divine Name in the Masoretic Tradition and the Greek Pentateuch,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 31 (2007): 411-28.
  • What’s in a name? (quest4light.net)
    Hidden in plain sight from the reader of the English translations of the Bible are several linguistic nuances that range from how the shaping of the letters are to the number of letters in a parshat to the different names used for the Almighty. You don’t even have to go very far – in the book of Genesis the following names are used – Elohim, YHVH, YHVH Elohim, El Shaddai, and Yah. Some attribute this to multiple authors whose works were compiled and redacted numerous times before the canon was sealed and others believe that the various names are in relation to the different attributes of God. The 2 most commonly used names in Jewish Scripture (aka Old Testament) are Elohim and YHVH. These names have different meanings and I will focus on these 2 names for now.
  • I AM…………………….The name of God and endless potential. (cancercuredmylife.wordpress.com)
    I Am that I Am (אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה, ʾehyeh ʾašer ʾehyeh [ʔehˈje ʔaˈʃer ʔehˈje]) is a common English translation (JPS among others) of the response God used in the Hebrew Bible whenMoses asked for his name (Exodus 3:14). It is one of the most famous verses in the Torah. Hayah means “existed” or “was” in Hebrew; “ehyeh” is the first person singular imperfect form and is usually translated in English Bibles as “I will be” (or “I shall be”), for example, at Exodus 3:12. Ehyeh asher ehyeh literally translates as “I Will Be What I Will Be”, with attendant theological and mystical implications in Jewish tradition. However, in most English Bibles, this phrase is rendered as I am that I am.”[1]
  • How Factual is the Bible? (glimpsesofgeula.wordpress.com)
    Shore’s book Coincidences in the Bible and in Biblical Hebrew offers dozens of incidents in which the Hebrew words in the Bible offer hidden information about the objects or people they represent, information which, in many cases, couldn’t have been known or measured until modern times.“This is not gematria,” Shore says. “Gematria, adopted by rabbis and Jewish Bible interpreters, suggests that if two Hebrew words share the same numerical value, there’s then a ‘secret’ that binds them together. By contrast, the Hebrew word, ‘heraion‘ (pregnancy) has the same numerical value as the duration of human pregnancy, 271 days.”
  • The Bible Simplified….. (jesusisms.wordpress.com)
    1) So many pages  2) Those seemingly endless pages are sooooo thin.  3)  It seems difficult to read  4)  Seems difficult to understand.   Etc Etc Etc….The thing is, while all of those and more may seem or even possibly be true….the Truth is, the more you Keep On reading it, Keep On seeking its information, the more the above intimidating distractions, which satan uses to discourage you with, will disappear and the information comes out like a flaming torch of light.
  • Names of God in Judaism: EMET excerpt selected by אלוה אל (powersthatbeat.wordpress.com)
    The Hebrew letters are named Yod-Heh-Waw-Heh: יהוה; note that Hebrew is written from right to left, rather than left to right as in English. In English it is written as YHWH, YHVH, or JHVH depending on the transliteration convention that is used. The Tetragrammaton was written in contrasting Paleo-Hebrew characters in some of the oldest surviving square Aramaic Hebrew texts, and it is speculated that it was, even at that period, read as Adonai, “My Lord“, when encountered.According to Jewish tradition, in appearance, YHWH is the third person singular imperfect of the verb “to be”, meaning, therefore, “God is,” or “God will be” or, perhaps, “God lives”. This explanation agrees with the meaning of the name given in Exodus 3:14, where God is represented as speaking, and hence as using the first person — “I am”.
  • Of Gods and Languages: On “When God Spoke Greek” (lareviewofbooks.org)
    These days the Christian Bible is usually regarded as the Greek New Testament added to the Old Testament, which is a reordering of the Hebrew Bible. If we read the Bible in English, we do so in the assurance that the first part is soundly translated from the Hebrew and the second from the Greek. Catholics include some Jewish Apocrypha, those Scriptures without Hebrew originals (and several most likely composed in Greek anyway), while Protestants reject them.Enhanced by Zemanta

Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

Diagram of a Religious experience

Diagram of a Religious experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religious and the spiritual person may be looking for certain experiences which can occur at several levels: physical, emotional, cognitive, pertaining to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgement, and reasoning, as contrasted with emotional and volitional processes, and transcendent. For the religious person there is the groups-feeling which shall be important to give him or her the appropriate feelings. The belonging to a community or parish shall fuse the personal feeling and the feeling of being part of something more than the self. The individual is not as such concerned about his individuality in the universe but more about his unit or union with others in the world. “Belonging to” is the feeding ground for the religious person.

The spiritual person is not so much connected to a reason to belong to a group or being part of a community or parish. The Self and especially the inner-self are the motives underlying his quest and behaviour. His or her search to the inner-self are the grounds for a quality that can infuse experience in a wide variety of settings. Spiritual experience can be both transcendent and immanent: it can be both an experience of transcending worldly concerns and an intense present-moment perception that the ground of all being permeates all things. for the individual it is not a groups matter but a personal and an intense aliveness and deep sense of understanding that one intuitively comprehends as having come from a direct, internal link with that mysterious principle which connects all aspects of the universe. In Christianity and Ecclesiastical Terms the immanence came to be the relation to the pantheistic conception of God, as being present throughout the universe. A person could come to a state where he or she could make himself or herself free from the limitations inherent in matter, becoming Theol (of God) having continuous existence outside the created world in a well-built relationship with the Most High Creator God or with a godly being.

In the 19th century several people became convinced that society and its institutions — particularly organized religion and political parties — ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual.

Among others New England congregationalists, rejected predestination, and they emphasized the unity instead of the trinity of God. The many people who had seen how in Europe the church had corrupted the real Truth of the Bible, the infallible Word of God, were also convinced the dogmatic teaching of a Tri-Une God, three persons coexisting consubstantially as one being or homoousia (consubstantialis), had brought man away form the commandments of God not to worship pictures or sculptures of any heavenly being nor of Him, the God of all things. The Gnostics were the first theologians to use the word “homoousios”, while before the Gnostics there is no trace at all of its existence. Jesus, who was placed by God on this earth, was well aware of his position, being lower than the heavenly beings (the angels) and his Father, without Him he could do nothing and who is the Most High of all.

“You* heard how that I said to you*, I go away and I am coming to you*. If you* loved* me, you* would have rejoiced, because I said, I am going to the Father: because the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28 MLV)

“But Jesus answered them, My Father works until now and I work. (18)  Because of this, then the Jews sought even more to kill him, because he did not only break the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
(19)  Therefore Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you*, The Son can do nothing from himself, unless he sees what the Father is doing: for* whatever things he does, the Son is also doing these things similarly. (20)  For* the Father loves the Son and shows him all things that himself does and greater works than these he will show him, that* you* may marvel. (21)  For* just-as the Father raises the dead and gives-life to them, even so the Son also gives-life to whom he wills. (22)  For* the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son; (23)  that* all may honor the Son, just-as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him. ” (John 5:17-23 MLV)

Already soon after the rabbi Jesus his death, his disciples were confronted with teachers who twisted Jesus his words and his teachings and mixed them with the Greek-Roman culture of that time. Lots of theories of the Greek philosophers did find their way in the faith of many early Christians, though the apostles kept warning for such false teachings. (See the Acts of the apostles and the many letters to the different communities.) Jesus of Nazareth never required his followers, many ordinary craftsman or fisherman, to follow theologian studies. But those who brought in all those studies of philosophers wanted their followers to learn them thoroughly. Therefore they created special institutions where this mix of teachings could be learned. by the years more time was spent on the teachings of the philosophers than on the Words of God. The early church theologians were probably made aware of the Gnostic concept, and thus of the doctrine of emanation, by them. {Aloys Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, vol. 1, From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon (451) (London: Mowbrays, 1975), p. 109.}

It was what so many spiritual people kept busy, finding substance between generating and generated, getting to the identity of substance between things generated of the same substance that brought several people away from the Biblical Truth, finding the early Gnostic religious teacher Basilides in Alexandria, Egypt who taught from 117–138 CE.
Basilides believed faith was merely

“an assent of the soul to any of the things which do not excite sensation, because they are not present”.

He also believed faith was a matter of “nature,” not of responsible choice, so that men would

“discover doctrines without demonstration by an intellective apprehension”. {St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book ii. Chapter iii.}

Image of a fiery purgatory in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Because Basilides believed faith was a matter of nature, doubtlessly he pushed election so far as to sever a portion of mankind from the rest, as alone entitled by Divine decree to receive a higher enlightenment. In this sense it must have been that he called “the election a stranger to the world, as being by nature supermundane”. {St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book iv. Chapter xxvi.} It was also this teacher who brought in that Jesus his death was not enough to get liberated of sin. According to such a teaching it denies the value of the sacrifice of Christ by who’s death we can be adopted as a child of God and be reconciled, having paid for our sins by our death. The idea was created that people only could receive ‘reconciliation’ when they belonged to the Roman Catholic Church and had received a sacrament in which repentant sinners are absolved and gained reconciliation with God and the Church. Basilides deprived men of a salutary fear by teaching that transmigrations are the only punishments after death. In later years many churches used purgatory and hell-fire to frighten the people and to get them in their system as angst-ridden followers. Many denomination used it as the big stick to keep people in their flock, also telling them they only could be saved and could come in heaven by being a member of their church. Today we still notice such a preventative measure against going astray or leaving that church still works. The fear of loosing their heavenly life makes that many people do not dare to question those theologian doom teachings. Because Basilides held to a fatalistic view of metempsychosis, he believed the Christian martyrs were being punished not for being Christians, but for sins they had committed in the past. This made that people became afraid to loose their life when they would keep on to the teachings of the apostles and early followers of Jesus, who took him as the son of God and not as god the son. Taking on the symbols and worship methods of the Greece-Roman culture made them one of them and would give them less reasons to be killed.

Lots of religious people took the sign of the god of evil Tamuz, the cross, as the sign of the death of their god. The Only One God can not die and never did have an end to His life which is eternal, meaning ‘with no beginning and no end’. Jesus had a beginning, his birth and an end, his death. The ones from the New World had seen how the European churches not only brought in false doctrines like the trinity, but resisted also many other Christian doctrines which had become considered conventional for the Christian Faith. Searchers for the truth like Joseph Priestley, one of the founders of the Unitarian movement, defined Unitarianism as the belief of primitive Christianity before later corruptions set in. Among these corruptions, lots of people had taken on several pagan rituals and had made them custom actions in their religious life.

Soho House in Handsworth, Birmingham, a regular venue for meetings of the Lunar Society

At Daventry, Priestley was sufficiently grounded in Latin and Greek to hold his own in subsequent disputes with university-trained scholars. He was more generally introduced to a range of subjects in natural philosophy, but more significantly, he was there formally instructed in logic and metaphysics. In Birmingham he became preacher at New Meeting House, one of the most liberal congregations in England, and was soon associated with the Lunar Society, an informal collection of provincial intellectuals, scientists, and industrialists. Taking the Bible as the main guide for his study about God to compare with the historical writings about Jesus and his followers, he became the chief propagandist and protagonist for Unitarian beliefs in England, writing annual defences against attack, and developing in various historical and polemical works (for example, An History of the Corruptions of Christianity [1782] and An History of Early Opinions concerning Jesus Christ [1786]) a rationalist theology that suggests, in some measure, the ideas of textual and “higher criticism” of the New Testament. In the eyes of the church establishment, he came to represent the intolerable encroachments of dissent, and on him was focused their theological and political animus. {Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 2008} when he had to escape from conservative England he emigrated to the United States in 1794 where president John Adams and George Washington were welcoming his teachings and made him to feel at home.

Those people looking to save their life found in the religion preached by those theologians of the Old World could feel ways to feel at ease with the many traditional movements done by the people around them. Instead of abstaining them form those worldly actions they now could take part without hesitation and fear, being part of the world. For many it was quite easy now to be religious, because according to the teaching of the apostles and the non-trinitarians or unitarians, people themselves were responsible and had to make choices themselves to make sure they would be worthy salvation. In the gnostic and Roman Catholic Church and later in several protestant churches they could blame their faults to a devil, called Satan or Lucifer, and always could find penitence even when they kept doing the same bad things. In many cases churches were willing to accept money for pardoning.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

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Read also:

  1. Idolatry or idol worship
  2. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  3. God of gods
  4. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  5. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  6. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  7. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  8. Christ Versus the Trinity
  9. Altered to fit a Trinity
  10. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  11. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  12. Through Christ’s death you can be adopted as a child of God
  13. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  14. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  15. Science and God’s existence
  16. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  17. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures
  18. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  19. What happens when we die?
  20. Fear and protection
  21. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  22. Satan or the devil
  23. Satan the evil within

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Additional reading:

  1. Paradise, the First Sin, the Fiery Sword, and the Path to Rectification
  2. Fear
  3. All trust, no fear
  4. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  5. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  6. Part 2) God is not a Trinity
  7. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  8. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity

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  • A New Gnosticism (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
    Well, after several months of thought, and being a bit dense, I figured out that Christian Scientism was a new Gnosticism. I suppose other people have known this, but I have beenin discussion with a friend who is a Christian Scientist and it finally dawned on me. She thinks that all reason is empiricism, so that is a confusion immediately seen.To the Catholic, reason and faith are two pillars of our spiritual life.

    For the Gnostic, the material world is evil. God is not part of the material. What the CS does with Genesis, in which we read that God created the world and everything in it and saw that it was good.

    For the Catholic, creation was created good by a good God. For the Catholic, Christ was Incarnated, became Man, became material. The CS does not accept this. To them, God is a principle not a person.

  • Embracing the Body as a Spiritual Path. (elephantjournal.com)
    The belief from many traditions is that we suffer precisely because we identify with our bodies, and that freedom is (somehow) somewhere beyond that mistake. But what I found over the years is that in fact the opposite might be true: we suffer when we do not embrace our bodies, and in fact it is our suffering in the first place that makes us reject, disconnect from and seek to be somewhere other than our bodies.chakrasHealing lies in coming home to the body. Whether it is recovery from trauma, abuse or addiction, learning to manage stress and be present with feelings, or releasing shame and media-conditioning to embrace our bodies as they are.
  • Um, Since When Does Jesus Have Skeletons in His Closet?: A Research Paper on Christianity (Part 1) (kosmosys.wordpress.com)
    Gnosticism is known to have correlations with Christianity based on its status of heresy with the Roman Catholic Church. Without going into specifics just yet, one can assume that “correlations”,”similarities” mean concepts, persons, principles, histories, what have you. Another interesting (or troubling?) thing about Gnosticism is that it actually Predates Christianity, meaning that it was in existence Long before Christianity. The understanding of the term “heresy” (and we will officially define it later) is that it is a corruption or perversion of scripture already in existence. How can Gnosticism corrupt or pervert Christianity IF Gnosticism was already in existence? So, if we are supposed to believe that Christianity is “self-existent” (meaning that the events in the Bible Actually happened and the people in the Bible were Real) how is it possible for it to be influenced by a School of Thought older than it? How can Jesus’ teachings exist Before He was supposedly born?
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    Um, Since When Does Jesus Have Bones in His Closet?: A Research Paper on Christianity (Part 2)
    What doctrine was the Church trying to silence? So by using Gnosticism, we can then get a new perspective on Christianity. We can look at its behavior, if you will, and understand exactly what, if anything, it is hiding in its closet.
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    According to NewAdvent.org, certain aspects of Gnosticism was in existence before that of Christianity, although at the time it was not called Gnosticism, as you can imagine, because Gnosticism itself was/is a spin off of older doctrines. One of the parent faiths of Gnosticism was the Babylonian Mandean faith, which I won’t even get into here. It is also pretty obvious that Gnosticism was not called such until it reached Greece seeing as the root of Gnosticism is “gnosis” meaning knowledge and is a greek word. So, according to this particular source, NewAdvent.org, “it is beyond doubt that Gnosticism existed independent of and anterior to Christianity.” Which means that there is no way that Gnosticism could come as a perversion of Christianity because it was here first.
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    As Christians have we not been trained to not think? What about the questions wehave been asked thathave been answered with a “don’t test God” or “God’s mysterious ways.” How many times hasCreflo dollar told us “don’t think! Sow!” How many times have we wondered where all our tithes and offerings are going? Who is spending it and on what?It is clear what the Church thinks about people with knowledge, people who think. Was Jesus not the reason for the slaughter of dozens of innocent men, women, and children during the Salem Witch Trials? How many of you knew the TRUE meaning of the terms listed above?
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    All I’m saying is that we need to open our eyes more. Ask questions. Understand things. Obviously there is more to be see than just meets the eye. There is more that needs to be learned. Otherwise, why would the Church cause so much bloodshed to silence the knowledge?
  • My Experience In The Word Of Faith Pt. 7-Watchman Nee,Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis (christianreasons.com)
    Pay careful attention to the reference regarding a deeper spiritual life. That will become important when we discuss the Keswick movement. The main thing I want to demonstrate is the link to Roman Catholic mysticism.Although the “Cross” is emphasized with the Higher Life advocates, the Sanctifying effects of union with Christ is stressed almost to the exclusion of the Justifying effects and the forgiveness of sins. I have a real problem with that. It is also common among Classic Wesleyans and Pentecostals to over-emphasize the more subjective aspects of Sanctification than the objective work of Christ in Justification.
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    The focus on the intuition as the real means of grasping truth, rather than through the specifics (including the wording) of Scripture is a definite type of Gnosticism, complete with its arrogance and exclusivity (regardless of intentions to the contrary). His claims that the conscience is based on one’s intuition opens wide the door for being directed by a supposed inner voice from God rather than taking God’s written Word as the true basis of conscience training. The conscience is only as accurate as the training upon which it is based. development of a rather complicated system, with its own specific terminology, which means that the uninitiated cannot really grasp the “deep teachings” of God. The focus on the intuition as the real means of grasping truth, rather than through the specifics (including the wording) of Scripture is a definite type of Gnosticism, complete with its arrogance and exclusivity (regardless of intentions to the contrary).
    +My Experience In The Word Of Faith Movement Pt. 6-Watchman Nee, Miss Margaret E. Barber, Roman Catholic Mystics
    + Pt.1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5.
    It has been in my exposure to the Reformers that I learned the broken ladders that the little theologians of glory in us love to use to get to God.
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    In The Normal Christian Life, (probably one of his more popular titles), Nee writes: “Righteousness, the forgiveness of our sins, and peace with God are all ours by faith, and without faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ none can possess them.” His whole exposition on the Blood of Christ in this book is very orthodox, and insightful. As far as it goes, it’s theologically sound.
  • Is It O.k. for Christians to Do Martial Arts? (prayers4reparation.wordpress.com)
    Many of the martial arts popular in the West have origins in parts of the world where Buddhist and other forms of religious philosophy are (or were) prevalent. Such philosophy is not essential to discipline and exercise, and indeed we can bring a Christian approach to bear, especially since we strive to focus not only on our own well-being but on selfless charity to others.
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    If it is simply a question of breathing exercises or seeking peace and harmony of soul, without the imposition of Pagan beliefs, then we can take part, though in our own practice we can bring to bear our Christian faith in which Christ is our peace, and the values of self-discipline and care of our physical health are seen in the context of a spiritual life in accord with the teaching of the Gospel.