Glad Tidings For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11
Volume 1 6, Issue 6
Glad Tidings November/December 2012
Something To Consider ............... p.3 by Vince Finnegan
The Congo Connection .............. p.10 by Cheryl Elton
Trinity History 3: Council of Nicea ......................... p.12 by Sean Finnegan
The Dead Sea Scrolls ................... p.4 by John Cortright Getting Direction .......................... p.7 by Kayren Allen
The Name YAHWEH ................... p.17 by Jim Muldoon
Our Refuge and Strength ............. p.8 by Mary Ann Yaconis
Mark these important dates on your calendar!! December 2727-30 Winter Teen Advance Frost Valley January 44-6 Twenties Weekend Woodstock January 2525-27 Menâ€™s Advance Frost Valley February 2222-23 Galatians Seminar Living Hope Community Church March 1616-17 Kingdom Fest Long Island NY
Glad Tidings is published six times per year by Living Hope International Ministries 458 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham, New York 12110 USA
Website www.LHIM.org 2
Glad Tidings is mailed free to anyone who requests it. Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.
SOMETHING TO CONSIDER: The Possibilities of Prayer E.M. Bounds wrote in his book the following on the possibilities of prayer. How vast are the possibilities of prayer! How wide is its reach! What great things are accomplished by this divinely appointed means of grace! It lays its hand on Almighty God and moves Him to do what He would not otherwise do if prayer was not offered. It brings things to pass which would never otherwise occur. The story of prayer is the story of great achievements. Prayer is a wonderful power placed by Almighty God in the hands of His saints, which may be used to accomplish great purposes and to achieve unusual results. Prayer reaches to everything, takes in all things great and small which are promised by God to the children of men. The only limits to prayer are the promises of God and His ability to fulfill those promises. “Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it!” Jesus taught on prayer quite often. Consider His words:
Matthew 7:7-12 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask him! Matthew 21: 21 and 22 "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen and all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." John 14:13 and 14 Whatever you ask in my name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. John 15:16 You did not choose me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in my name He may give to you. John 16:23 In that day [the day he ascended], you will not question me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in my name, He will give it to you. If I read E.M. Bounds’ words without considering our Lord’s, I would be tempted to think he overstated; however, he may well have understated! With my prayers for you,
By John Cortright
The Dead Sea Scrolls
he Dead Sea Scrolls have been described as the “the greatest MS (manuscript) discovery of modern times!”1 For Bible scholars and those interested in seeking truth regarding God’s name, this statement is especially true. Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest known text of the Hebrew Old Testament was the Masoretic Text (MT). The oldest extant version of MT is dated to about 1000 AD – over 500 years after the oldest surviving Greek texts. For centuries, the versions in Greek and Latin were older than any existing Hebrew text. Moreover, in these Greek and Latin texts, the name of God did not exist; rather, the name of God had been replaced with the word for “Lord” (Kurios in Greek and Dominus in Latin). Although the Hebrew MT contained the name of God, Yahweh, the Greek and Latin texts were in reality, much older. How could scholars be certain of the accuracy of this text, codified, compiled, and written by the Masorites between 600AD-1000AD? Sometime
Bedouins were shepherding their herds near the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. One of the young men threw a stone into a nearby cave, and he heard something break. The men entered the caves to find out what had made the noise. There they found several clay jars and when they
looked inside, found many manuscripts in an ancient language they didn’t understand. Upon bringing samples of these documents to an antiquities dealer in Bethlehem, these shepherds learned they had discovered the oldest copies of Scripture. Over the next decade, almost 1,000 manuscripts were
discovered from several caves scattered along the Dead Sea. Most scrolls are in the Hebrew language, while a few Aramaic and Greek texts were also discovered. While the majority of manuscripts are copies of the Hebrew Scripture, non-Biblical writings were also discovered. The majority of the manuscripts date between 100BC and 70AD, while a few manuscripts are thought to be even older. Now, for the first time, scholars had copies of the Bible dated to the time of Jesus and the first century disciples. Also, the name of God, YHWH, is present in all of the Hebrew copies of Scripture. Adjacent to the caves where the scrolls were found, people made another archeological discovery − the ruins of an ancient Jewish settlement known as Qumran. The popular theory is that this was a community of Jewish separatists known as Essenes, which was one of three major Jewish sects existing in the first century. The three distinct groups, as described by the historian Josephus, were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. Unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees that (Continued on page 5)
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remained within common society, the Essenes withdrew from worldly influence. This community at the Dead Sea were said to “devote themselves to turn away from all evil, and to hold fast to all that he has commanded as his will, to separate themselves from the congregation of men of iniquity to be a commune in Torah and property.”2 The common belief about the destruction of Qumran is that the community met its end around 68AD. Historians think that when the Roman Army came upon this settlement in their war against the Jewish people, they killed the people of this city. It is believed that before this fateful event, members of the community hid their writings in the surrounding caves. A majority of the texts found were in Hebrew containing versions, or at least fragments, from every Old Testament book except Esther. The name of God, YHWH, is found in all of these Hebrew copies of Scriptures. Even a few Greek fragments of the Old Testament were discovered in which the name of God is also present. In the Greek manuscripts, the main text is in Greek, but the name is written in Hebrew – in an ancient Paleo Hebrew script. One Greek manuscript has a rendering of God’s name with Greek letters
The Greek word kurios (English translation “Lord”) is not used as a surrogate for God’s name in any of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This truth, that the name of God is in these ancient manuscripts, is a witness to the fact that YHWH was still being used at this time in the land of Israel. Besides the vast amount of manuscripts containing Scripture, the collection of texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls also include other religious writings known as Apocrypha and
Pseudepigrapha. There is also a collection of “secular” writings that may have been composed or revised by the Qumran community. These manuscripts provide an interesting insight into a study of God’s name. If the name of God were only found in Scripture, one might conclude that the name had no 5
contemporary use at the time, only that is was being copied from antiquity in the sacred documents. A study of three manuscripts, believed to be part of the secular writings of the community, is very intriguing. Three of these documents are known as The Community Rule, The War Scroll, and The Temple Scroll. To understand the history of these documents, it is helpful to understand how a paleographer dates a text. Besides the modern technique of carbon dating and using historical references in texts to determine the date, paleographers also look at the “style” of the writing. There are at least three distinct styles of Hebrew found among the manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls: Paleo Hebrew style (which predates the Babylonian captivity), Hasmonean type characters (from the Hasmonean dynasty between 160BC and 63BC), and Herodian style script (from the time of Roman rule, about 63BC to 68AD). These “secular” writings are written in either Hasmonean or Herodian style Hebrew script. These three secular manuscripts from the Essene community can now be viewed by anyone as they are freely available online from the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls at http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/. The Community Rule is written in (Continued on page 6)
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Hasomonean text and is thought to have been written in the early first century BC. It contains statutes and liturgical ceremonies for the sect. God’s name, YHWH, is not used in this manuscript, nor is God ever referred to by the title of “Lord.” There is, however, a mention in the rules about restrictions when uttering “the Most Venerable Name” in the court of Inquiry. The War Scroll is written in Herodian Hebrew script and dates to the late first century BC or early first century AD. It is an apocalyptic view of the forces of righteousness, called the sons of light, versus the forces of evil, called the sons of darkness. As with the Community Rule, this text also does not use the name YHWH, nor does it use the title “Lord.” However, the manuscript has references such as “to Thy great Name,” “praise Thy Name,” and “bless Thy Name.”
The Temple Scroll was the longest of any of these secular writings. This document is written in Herodian Hebrew script and dates to the first half of the first century AD. The Temple Scroll gives legislation for sacrificial worship as described in the Torah and also provides some non-biblical regulations. Also in this
manuscript, written around the same time that Jesus declared, “Hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9), the four letter name of God, the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, is used over 60 times. It was at this time in history that Jesus himself stated, “I have manifested Your name” (John 17:6). The name was being penned in the Essene community at Qumran during this same time period. The Temple Scroll declares “The children of Israel shall rejoice before YHWH, an eternal rule for their generations wherever they dwell.”3 The Dead Sea Scrolls provide undeniable proof that the name of God, pronounced “Yahweh,” was still being used in the first century. Jacob Neusner (a Professor at Brown University and noted specialist in Judaic studies) writes the following about this unique sect known as the Essenes. “Men and women came to Qumran with their property, which they contributed to the common fund. There they prepared for a fateful day, not too long to be postponed, scarcely looking backward at those remaining in the corruption of this world. These Jews would be the last, smallest, “saving remnant” of all. Yet through them all humankind would come to 6
know the truth.”4 The prophet Ezekiel spoke of a time when God’s holy name would be made known.
My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am the LORD [YHWH], the Holy One in Israel. Ezekiel 39:7 May God continue to reveal Himself to the nations of the world, and may we boldly proclaim the name of Yahweh. 1
Phillip R. Callaway, The Dead Sea Scrolls for a New Millennium, Cascade books, Eugene, OR, Copyright 2011, pg 4. 2
Jacob Neusner, Judaism in the Beginning of Christianity, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA, Copyright 1984, Page 26. 3
Geza Vermes, (2004). The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. London, England: Penguin Books Ltd., Pgs 97-220. The quotes used in this article for The Community Rule, The War Scroll, and The Temple Scroll are all translations from this book by Geza Vermes. 4
Neusner, op.cit P.26 .
Getting Direction By Kayren Allen
ife is tough sometimes. We have to learn to train ourselves to bring our issues and problems to YHWH and not only give them to Him to take care of but allow Him to walk us through them. We must depend on Him and follow His lead. This we do by learning Scripture such as Proverbs 3:5 and 6.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. This verse should not just be read and thought about but also genuinely put into practice by doing it, applying it, and believing it! Trusting in the Lord with all your heart is looking at every situation in life with faith and hope, not getting disgruntled, angry, or having a temper tantrum when something goes wrong. Instead, we say – “Okay, God, what do I do now?” or “How have You provided for me in this situation?” or “I have no idea what is going on, but I know all things work together for good to those who love Him.” Instead of thinking, “What did I do wrong?” or “What are we going to do now?” maybe we should think, “Wow, I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, so this must be YHWH protecting me from harm” or “YHWH has something better for me.” The second part of those verses state “and lean not unto thine own understanding.” I think we (or at
least I) tend to think if I am not doing what God would have me to do, He will let me know. Instead I think we should all learn to be at peace, quiet, with God to hear His voice and receive His direction. People tend to jump to conclusions, storm ideas, brain storm instead of lifting the situation to Him and then waiting for the answer. Waiting can be perplexing at times, but maybe we need to look at our own walks with God and see what we are actually doing. Acknowledging God is what
we are to do instead of leaning on our own understanding, so how do we “acknowledge God in all our ways?” Are we setting our day? Do we truly believe that we can’t live without God? Then, are we starting our day in prayer and reading His Word? Are we by our actions acknowledging Him in all our ways? Then, I believe we cannot leave our homes without spending quality time with Him. When we leave our homes, are we continuing to acknowledge Him? Are we thanking Him for getting us 7
to work safely? Are we taking an altercation at work to Him? That terrible phone call or situation I learned of, did I bring it to Him? What about that concern for my husband, his job, a friend, and so on and so on. Did I ask Him what to do about a gift I wanted to purchase but could not? Did I thank Him for a gift I received? Did I praise and glorify Him that my child received a good grade, or did I ask Him how to help my child to do better? Do I ask Him before I sign up for a class or order food? Did I praise Him in spite of the fact that my husband lost his job? I know that He promised to provide, and did I thank Him for that awesome provision of His Word that I have to hold onto? And finally... “He will direct your paths.” Don’t we all really just want YHWH to tell us what to do? I don’t know about others, but for me to know that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am doing the right thing all the time, that is amazing! We can have that. God promised to direct our steps, our ways. What can be better than that? No more searching for the answers. So in order to get direction from the Almighty, we have to: 1. Trust Him with everything, 2. Not trust what we think or our own knowledge, 3. Acknowledge Him all the time. 4. He will tell us what to do! Amazing! Now, YHWH, please help us all to do that!
Our Refuge and Strength By Mary Ann Yaconis
ecently, I was reading a verse of Scripture that brought back very fond memories of my childhood.
Psalm 46:10a Be still and know that I am God. KJV I remembered my Sunday School classroom when we were memorizing this verse as if it happened today. The verse genuinely comforted my heart as a seven year old. I was to be still. When I was still, I could know God, and that thought made me feel safe. The holy spirit brought back to my mind the important effect this verse made throughout my life. Instances that happened of being still taught me that I can know God is who He says He is - my refuge and fortress in times of trouble. To “be still” is translated as “cease striving” in the NASB and as “desist” in YLT. “Desist” means to cease doing something. A quiet mind, hands, and heart allow us to receive good things from God. I reflected on two places where I would cease from striving and be still. I had two favorite refuges in my home as a child.
One was sitting on a small window ledge in front of a dormer that looked out to my large back yard that was encircled with very tall and beautiful elm trees (that I called broccoli trees). To my child’s mind, the trees were my fortress that God put around me to keep me safe. I would sit there and be still, thinking about how even though I had (what I considered) “troubles,” I could talk with God and Jesus and be comforted because God said that He was my fortress, my strength. My second place of refuge was when I would sit in my Daddy’s lap. His habit was to read the newspaper after dinner, and I would crawl up underneath the paper and sit there while he would tell me about what he was reading. I didn’t really hear a whole lot about the world events, but I did hear love in his voice. I felt calm and safe in my fortress of Daddy’s arms and the newspaper which hid me from the world. The feeling of being safe, strong, and loved flooded my soul.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
When we need help, guidance, protection, support, and comfort, we run to God’s promise of being our safe place. He gives us a spiritual fortress and the spiritual strength to do the difficult walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and, all the while, we can fear no evil (Psalm 23:4).
Psalm 62:7-8 On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Many have not had experiences that taught them how to feel safe and protected by those who are supposed to give that blessing to their children. This makes it difficult not to strive, to desist from pushing against others and circumstances so as to make our own sense of safety. No matter what is done to protect the self, it is never enough to feel really safe. We can’t seem to stop the scrambling long enough to be still and allow ourselves to feel the goodness of God’s love and protection. We are too busy frantically searching for cracked stones and shifting (Continued on page 9)
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sand to build our own rickety fortresses. Controlling behaviors towards ourselves and others helps to assuage the fears but is a constant battle − a striving against life that is exhausting and, at best, a mediocre Band-Aid that will never stay on.
newspaper fortress with my Dad and feel Yahweh’s loving comfort and strength. In our times of troubles, do we run to our sensual defaults of anger,
Psalm 46:2-3 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Being protected by God gives us the ability not to fear. I learned this by being protected from harm by my parents. When I was hurt, scared with a nightmare, mad at my brothers, or feeling sad, I had a refuge to run to. It was safe, calming, and gave me strength to work through the problems with support and love from Mom and Dad. I was taught that God was even bigger and stronger than anyone or any situation. If Mom and Dad could do all they did to save me, then God is able to do that and even to do it better. I long to go back in my mind to my dormer window seat and see my elm trees or to be in my
TV or computer, alcohol or drugs, isolation, being grumpy and mean, or do we run to our strong fortress? If we never learned how to run to God as a child, we can re-parent ourselves by believing the Scriptures and ask God to heal our hearts so we can choose to trust always in Him. That statement is truth. Your experience taught lies that you can’t trust or feel safe. We can run to our fortress or run to quicksand. We do have a choice.
Psalm 46:11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our 9
stronghold. Jacob experienced the power of Yahweh being his refuge. Jacob was afraid of Esau’s wrath and had good reason to be. When Jacob returned to his brother after years of separation, Jacob asked God for protection from Esau. God provided all that Jacob and his family needed to be safe. Yahweh (the Almighty One who created all things and is victorious over all evil) is with us. We can meditate on that thought. We are safe; we are taken care of no matter what is going on. We are victorious now, and when the Kingdom comes, it will be the final complete victory. Our fortress is not like Jericho’s walls which crumbled down. Yahweh is our fortress, and though evil tries to take us out, we can choose to remain in Yahweh’s presence and protection. Be still, cease from striving, desist, and know that Yahweh is our refuge and strength. Noth ing can beat that!
By Cheryl Elton
here’s joy in giving. As one of God’s wonderful precepts for living, giving benefits and blesses not only the recipient but the giver also. This year, 58 children in the Congo are attending school because of the generous support of 46 wonderful believers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Most of these children would not be able to attend school without this help. The sponsorship commitment includes tuition assistance and prayer support for each student throughout the school year. Perhaps 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 summarizes LHIM’s Congo school sponsorship program well: (New Living Translation)
“Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and
increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem [Congo] will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!”
The families continue to express great joy and thanksgiving for the blessing of this support.
All of the children are part of Rev. Kennedy Kutukwa’s church, The Way Restored, and are actively involved in children’s fellowship.
“I have a photo of my student Deborah on my refrigerator. This reminds me to think of her and pray for her every day. It’s such a
But the blessings also extend to the givers, and this month we’ll hear from some of our sponsors and what being involved in the Congo school sponsorship program means to them.
“It blesses us to know that by sponsoring a child in the Congo, we are providing the opportunity for our child to get an education, which is one step toward being able to climb out of the difficult social situation she was born into. More importantly, learning to read and write will ultimately be a segue to learn and understand God’s Word.” Murat & Linda Ketenci, Strafford, NH
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blessing to me to know that I am helping a child who is in need. I pray that Deborah and all the children in the Congo will make a significant difference in spreading the Word to all those who so desperately need Yahweh in their lives.” Donna Salamida, Albany, NY “Education in America is something kids take for granted, in fact most complain about going to school. I am happy to provide something for those who see getting an education as honorable, which it is, and also to make way for the ones who are oppressed beyond their control. This is something we all should be looking to relieve.” Karen VanWyk, Albany, NY
“Christ teaches us to care for the poor, and especially for the children. He even says that when we act in kindness to another person, we are actually doing it to him. I count it a joy to serve Christ by helping a child in this real and tangible way.” Anonymous, NY “I like this definition of ‘involved:’ “connected or concerned with someone or something, typically on an emotional or personal level.” We are blessed to be ‘involved’ in the Congo school program. Our Heavenly Father has made it possible to give a little here in New York and reach out with His Word to a child over six thousand miles away. We do feel ‘connected and concerned’ because we can think of these children and pray perfectly for them with the hope that they will receive the power of God − as all believers do when they believe. That is the wonder of Yahweh and
His gift of Holy Spirit − we can love long distance!” John & Sylvia Johnson, Jamestown, NY “I am thankful that God would grant me the honor and privilege to be part of a child's life so far away. And yet when I pray for Exaucee, I feel like she’s right next to me. She is in my heart! I also pray that as long as she needs my support, that God would grant me the finances to continue. We have a wonderful, loving Father who cares for His children all over the world. I love being a part of this child's life.” Barbara Tanner, Thornton, NH “It’s rewarding to know that we are able to help provide an education for a less fortunate child in Africa with just a few dollars per month. When I think of the difference that learning to read and write can make in this child's life, I am filled with hope for her future. These skills will help her learn to read the Bible and by extension get to know God even better on her own. It is my joy to pray for this child, Esther, that she may grow in the ways of the LORD, that God would continue a good work in her, and that He would protect and guide her as she seeks to share the gospel with others and to glorify Him. I’m thankful to be a part of this program, and for Richard and Cheryl Elton and the others who work tirelessly to keep it running.” Anonymous, NY
“It's a privilege to sponsor a child. It reminds us of the abundance that God has blessed us with. Education is precious, and if you can’t read and write, it's that much harder to receive and retain God’s Word. Our child will have the op11
portunity to step out of the poverty cycle by being educated and qualified for a better job. We see our sponsorship as a manifestation of God’s care and love to our sponsored child and her family. We like that it’s done anonymously − thereby putting the focus on God.” Bobby & Kathy Terrill, New York, NY “We always saw the programs on TV asking for money for children in other countries, and our hearts were drawn to give to them. But we didn't trust them, so we did nothing. We found out about the Congo program and began to donate. But God knew our hearts, and now we are helping a child. Even better, we are helping a child to learn God's Word as well −a double blessing.” Miguel & Yvonne Cazola, Bronx, NY “We were very blessed and proud when we were listening to the update on the Congo summer trip during Living Hope's church service. One of the young boys who was especially studious is one of the children we are sponsoring! I felt like a proud parent would when I saw how excited he was to be answering the Bible questions that were being asked. We are especially excited this year to be sponsoring our first girl, and her name just happens to be Blessing.” Pat & Rayma Biglane, Newburgh, NY “We are extremely blessed to have this opportunity. It is wonderful viewing Jonathan's annual physical transformation. All our prayers and love go out to all the children and believers in Africa.” Val & Evelyn Flaim, Flushing, NY
Trinity History 3: Council of Nicea By Sean Finnegan
n a.d. 313, Alexander (the bishop of Alexandria in Egypt) fired and excommunicated Arius (one of his presbyters) because he challenged Alexander’s claim that Jesus never had a beginning. If Arius had been an outsider, an impetuous youth, or a radical theologian, the decision of the powerful bishop may have stuck. However, Arius was none of those things; he was a tried and true churchman, a wise and disciplined elder, and a conservative thinker. As a result, the controversy Alexander initiated spread to other provinces as Arius and the other eighty-nine church members who left with him reached out for help from other bishops. Before long, other bishops held new councils that vindicated Arius and pressed Alexander to reverse his irascible decision. Alexander responded by writing a circular letter lambasting and slandering Arius for his divisive and debauched “heresy.” Christianity, at least in the eastern provinces, found itself heading towards a serious rift when Constantine, the emperor who ended the great
Constantine was a ruthless man, a competent military strategist, and a gifted administrator. He reversed his predecessor’s old governing apparatus (four rulers sharing power) and defeated all his rivals to establish an autocratic reign that lasted thirty years. During this time, he constantly strove to seize more power and to secure his position by eliminating any threats that came along. Over the course of his reign, Constantine killed his father-in-law, three brothers-in-
“From the perspective of our own
time, it may seem strange to think of Arian “heretics” as conservatives, but emphasizing Jesus’ humanity and God’s transcendent otherness had never seemed heretical in the East.” 7
law, one nephew, his first-born son, and his wife. He was a man of reform who audaciously founded “New Rome”—a new capital for the empire—which he named after himself: Constantinople (literally “Constantine’s city”). He successfully defended the borders and instigated major social reforms as well. However, 12
he is best known for his patronage of the undignified and fledgling religion called Christianity. Constantine believed the Christian God had helped him in his conquest for exclusive power, so he genuinely endeavored to benefit Christians however he could. In a.d. 313, he and his coemperor Licinius signed the Edict of Milan, granting legal protection to Christians and requiring stolen property to be returned. He also used imperial funds to rebuild many churches as well as founding new ones. He may have thought Christianity could serve as a kind of ideological glue to unite and solidify his empire, though he was not so extreme as to outlaw or persecute adherents to the old pagan faith (most Romans). Constantine favored Christianity and supported it but knew full well that following Christ was quite incompatible with ruling the Roman Empire. (He did not submit to baptism until his deathbed.) When he first heard about the controversy over Christ, he wrote a letter to Alexander and Arius rebuking them for divisiveness and exhorting them to overlook insignificant theological quibbles. Ossius of Cordova, a Spanish bishop and advisor to Constantine, carried the letter to Alexandria and promptly presented it to Alexan(Continued on page 13)
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der. Arius was probably in hiding and not accessible for consultation. Alexander convinced Ossius that the issue was not some trifling matter but something of paramount importance. In response, Ossius decided to call a council to address the matter in Antioch. Details are sketchy for this council, but we know Ossius presided and it condemned the subordinationist1 view of Arius. The eminent church historian and adamant supporter of Constantine, Eusebius of Caesarea, attended and wound up excommunicated by the end of it for not believing the Son was eternal. This must have shocked not only Bishop Eusebius, a famous learned man and one who had written more books than anyone else, but also everyone else since he was one of Constantine’s advisers. The council of Antioch produced a list of anathemas or curses on those who refused to agree—the first of its kind. In many ways, it prefigured the next council to be held later that year. Although calling councils to figure out theological issues goes all the way back to the first century when the apostles debated about and decided on whether or not Gentiles needed to keep the Law of Moses, never had the Roman government participated in them or enforced their decisions. Thus, with the council of Nicea, we witness a new development in the history of Chris-
tianity. It is not as though Constantine merely attended as an interested spectator, he was the one who called the council, set the location, and provided transportation at state expense. He chose Nicea because the imperial palace was both sufficient to house hundreds of bishops and because it was near the emperor’s base of operations at Nicomedia (Constantinople was not yet finished). The council was not so much called to figure out the correct biblical position on the question of Jesus’ status so much as to find a way to end the division that was festering. Expediency was the order of the day, not truth. Ossius, who presided over the meeting, already knew the result before the council began. By May of a.d. 325, all the preparations were ready, and bishops from all over began to arrive. What a sight it must have been to see the bishops who had just endured ten years of state -sponsored persecution suddenly arrive at an imperial lake resort at the bequest of the emperor. Many of them bore the marks of their suffering on their bodies. Richard Rubenstein writes, “A good many of them bore the scars of past persecutions: eye patches covering lost eyes, limps produced by severed hamstrings or Achilles tendons, backs deformed by hard labor in Phoenician mines.”2 Altogether about 250 bishops arrived by early June, almost all from the 13
eastern provinces of the empire. Sylvester, the bishop of Rome, did not even come, though he was represented by two of his presbyters. Alexander was there along with his deacon, Athanasius, about whom we will have much to say next time. They met from May to July, and the first topic of address was the controversy swirling around Alexander’s steadfast excommunication of Arius. Once everyone was seated, Constantine entered the room dressed in his imperial regalia, complete with purple robe and diamond encrusted diadem. Everyone stood until he sat. Then to begin the proceedings, Eusebius of Caesarea (who did not believe Jesus was eternal) opened the council by extending an official welcome to the emperor, overflowing with praise for what Constantine had done in delivering Christianity from the clutches of his depraved predecessors. Although Ossius and the council of Antioch had excommunicated Eusebius, his role as one of Constantine’s advisers was sufficient to postpone the little council’s decision, at least until the present one ended. Next Constantine addressed the assembly in Latin since he was not comfortable speaking publicly in Greek. Details about the council are meager, but we know that both Eusebii had opportunity to speak or at least have something they composed read (Continued on page 14)
Trinity History 3: Council of Nicea Continued... (Continued from page 13)
aloud to the assembly. At some time, Eusebius of Caesarea produced a modified version of the baptismal statement of faith his church used. His goal was clearly to make himself appear as mainstream as possible. Since he had no intention of suffering the ignominy of exile, he aimed at conciliation, not controversy. His creed read as follows: We believe in one God, Father, Almighty, maker of all things seen and unseen; and in one Lord Jesus Christ the Word of God, God from God, Light from Light, Life from Life, only-begotten Son, first-born of all creation, begotten from the Father before all ages, through whom all things have come into being, who was incarnate for our salvation; and spent his life among men, and suffered and rose the third day and went up to the Father and will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; and we believe in one Holy Spirit…3
his own belief. Eusebius had wisely avoided all of the controversial questions and presented his own faith in a way that closely resembled what Ossius and Alexander believed. In fact, the creed
“same being.” Two other significant additions included adding the phrase “true God from true God” instead of just keeping “God from God” and the anathemas appended to the end of the creed. The result was the (in)famous Nicene Creed of a.d. 325:
“Constantine participated in the
proceedings…[he] suggested that the Greek term homoousios (“of the same substance”) could describe the relationship of the Father and the Son. Some bishops thought that it was a bad precedent to use the word homoousios, which was not in the scriptures, to describe something as crucial as the relation of Son and Father. Some bishops objected that homoousios opened the way to a view of divine oneness with which Sabellius could have
Without waiting for the bishops to weigh in, Constantine responded favorably and declared that this statement was orthodox and that it accurately summed up
agreed. But they did not prevail.” that the Church adopted at Nicea followed the same pattern as Eusebius’ statement with a few major differences. According to Eusebius, Constantine himself was the one who suggested including the word homoousios, which means “same substance” or “same essence” or 14
We believe in one God, the Father, almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten from the Father, onlybegotten, that is, from the substance of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God, from true God, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things came into being, things in heaven and things on earth, who because of us humans and because of our salvation came down and became incarnate, becoming human, suffered and rose on the third day, ascended to the heavens, will come to judge the living and the dead; and in the Holy Spirit. But as for those who say, “There was when he was not” and “Before being (Continued on page 15)
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born he was not” and that “He came into existence out of nothing” or who assert that the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance or is subject to alteration and change—these the catholic and apostolic church anathematizes. From reading this short statement of faith, one is easily able to infer the purpose of the document. It was designed to exclude those who did not believe Jesus was the eternal true God. The slogans of Arius that had become so popular were now anathemas or curses. Just saying that Jesus did not exist before he was begotten could now get someone kicked out of the Church for good. If the goal was to produce unity among Christianity, this document surely took an unusual strategy. The creed polarized Christians and forced everyone to pick a side. According to ancient historian Theodoret, at some time, a letter by Eusebius of Nicomedia was read aloud. The response was catastrophic. People began condemning it, and someone even tore it to pieces. It is not clear exactly how this occurred. Were some of
Alexander’s more militant supporters causing the uproar, or did the majority genuinely find the statements repulsive? Did the reader finish the letter, or was he cut off? Theodoret’s description is so full of bias and vitriol that it is hard to know how far we can trust him. Furthermore, as we will see, for the next sixty years, bishops disagreed about this very issue, indicating that a number of bishops either already agreed with the subordinationists or they changed their minds afterwards. Sadly, as so often happens, the victors write the history. Although we may never know for sure, the council of Nicea does not seem to have been a time of calm, level-headed investigation into the nature of Christ. Ossius did not permit Arius to speak because he was only a presbyter and not a bishop. It would appear that the council never adequately heard a solid subordinationist presentation without the absurd booing and closedmindedness of Alexander’s cronies. In order to force everyone to unify around the new creed,
everyone had to sign it. Although at least seventeen bishops (according to Rufinus)4 did not approve of the word homoousios, all but two eventually signed it for the sake of unity, including both Eusebii. The vast majority of bishops probably did not have any strong convictions on this rather obscure theological question. Constantine exiled Secundus of Ptolemais, Theonas of Marmarike, and Arius of Alexandria for refusing to sign it. The council spent the rest of their time together deciding on a wide range of practical issues. They drew up twenty canons or rules to ensure greater unanimity among the churches. Within three months of the council, Constantine banished Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nicea because, though they had signed the Nicene Creed, they provided hospitality to subordinationist presbyters from Alexandria after it. Following the council, Constantine drafted several letters, one of which suppressed the writings of Arius. He wrote, “This therefore I decree, that if any one shall be detected in concealing a book compiled by
“Henceforth emperors claimed the right to call ecumenical [universal] councils of bishops empowered to dictate theology and practice for all Christians”9 (Continued on page 16)
Trinity History 3: Council of Nicea Continued... (Continued from page 15)
Arius, and shall not instantly bring it forward and burn it, the penalty for this offense shall be death.â€?5 Now that the government was endorsing one theological position, those who disagreed found themselves not only facing banishment from churches but also from the empire and potentially even death! But, what if the theology of the Nicene Creed was wrong? What if cultural bias prevailed over biblical exegesis?6 Henceforth, the only way to accomplish significant theological reform was to convince the emperor to change his mind. The subordinationists did not waste much time languishing in exile; they began writing letters and galvanizing support
in hopes of returning. Although the situation may have seemed bleak for nonTrinitarians immediately following the council of Nicea, everything was soon to change. Within three years, Constantine recalled the exiled Arians and reinstated them and even wrote to Alexander requiring him to readmit Arius. As we will see, Nicea, far from concluding the controversy, was really just the beginning. 1
A subordinationist is someone who believes the Father is greater than the Son and that the Son is not eternal.
R.P.C. Hanson in The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic 2005), p. 159. 4
Rufinus, Ecclesiastical History 10.5
Socrates, Ecclesiastical History 1.9
Exegesis is the practice whereby one reads truth out from Scripture rather than reading their own theology into it. 7
Richard Rubenstein, When Jesus Became God, (Orlando: Harcourt, Inc 1999), p. 74. 8
Joseph Lynch, Early Christianity: A Brief History (New York: Oxford University Press 2010), p. 164.
Richard Rubenstein, When Jesus Became God, (Orlando: Harcourt, Inc 1999), p. 72. 3
Eusebius of Caesarea, Letter of Eusebius of Caesarea to the People of His Own Diocese 3, trans.
Bart D. Ehrman and Andrew S. Jacobs, Christianity in Late Antiquity: 300-450 c.e. (New York: Oxford University Press 2004), p. 243.
May God bless you this holiday season! 16
The Name YAHWEH By Jim Muldoon
ost of us have Authorized (King James) versions of the Bible. You will note that the One Who inspired it to be written is called “The LORD” as in Exodus 3:15 where He is quoted as saying, “Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”
Again, in the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:7, the third commandment is quoted as saying, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.” Most other translations of the Bible also render His name as the “LORD” or “GOD” in small capital letters. But is this the Creator's name? Is this what He inspired to be written? No, it most definitely is not! The Bible was originally written in the Hebrew language, because it was given to Hebrew prophets He had called for that purpose. What they wrote was the name He gave Himself − the Hebrew letters Yod, Hay, Waw, Hay, corresponding in English to YHWH. This is called the Tet-
ragrammaton or the four letters. Look up in your own dictionary or encyclopedia “Tetragrammaton,” “YHWH,” “Yahweh,” “Jehovah,” “God,” and “Lord.” Originally, the Hebrew language did not have vowels. Only consonants were written, and the reader provided the vowel sounds. The Jews confirm in their own encyclopedia that the name should be pronounced “Yahweh,” but they will not pronounce it. They developed a superstition that it was too sacred and holy to be pronounced, so they substituted “Adonai,” meaning “My Lord,” or “the Lord.” They used two Scriptures to justify this: the third commandment, Exodus 20:7, and Leviticus 24:16, which says, “And he that blasphemes the name of Yahweh, he shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall surely stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemes the name shall be put to death.” They thought the best way to avoid blaspheming His name was to avoid it all together. So they quit using it, writing the vowels of “Adonai” up over it where it appeared in their Hebrew Scriptures (about 7,000 times) so the reader would read “Yahweh” but pronounce “Adonai.” Bible translators, for 17
the most part, have followed this unauthorized man-made custom in their own translations. Yet most of them tell us in their prefaces or forewords what they have done and that the proper name of the Most High is “Yahweh.” Well, you might ask, what difference does this make? He knows who I'm referring to when I call Him “Lord” or “God,” doesn't He? He knows who the translators meant, doesn't He? Yes, He knows our hearts. He knows our very thoughts. But the difficulty lies in the fact that “LORD” or “GOD” is not His name, and by quoting Him as saying, “I am the LORD,” we are putting lying words in His mouth. We are making Him out to be a liar. We are establishing our own righteousness and disobeying Him. We are saying we know better than He does what He should be called. Yahweh attaches great importance to His name. He says it is holy; it is to be revered; it is not to be polluted or used in a vain way. Incredibly, His name appears in the Old Testament manuscripts approximately 7,000 times (one thousand times more than seven, the biblical number of completeness)! Yet,
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“wisdom” has tried to obliterate His name completely. For instance, in the King James Bible, His name appears only four times (in the corrupted form “Jehovah”) and once as “Jah” (Psalm 68:4). The “J” originally had the “Y” sound. Everywhere else, it has been rendered “the LORD,” or “GOD.” Let's examine a few Scriptures either quoting Yahweh Himself or one of His prophets that show the importance He attaches to His name. Exodus 20:7: “Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy God [EL] in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.” This is the third commandment. “In vain” means to bring to nothing, to make useless or of no effect, or to misuse it. This commandment means far more than just not cursing and swearing. It means, among other things, not to forsake it or take it away, which is what has been done. Psalm 83:18: “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Yahweh, art the most High over all the Earth.” Isaiah 42:8: “I am Yahweh: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images.” Psalm 68:4, “Sing unto God [Elohim], sing praises to His name: extol Him that rides upon the heavens by His name Jah” [Yah, the short, or poetic form of Yahweh, as in Halle-lu-YAH]. This praiseful expression is known in almost every language on earth and means, “Praise ye Yahweh.”
Ezekiel 43:7: “And He [Yahweh] said unto me ...and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile.” Isaiah 12:2, 4: “Yahweh is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise Yahweh, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted.” Ezekiel 39:6 -7: “And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am Yahweh. So
will I make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let them pollute My holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am Yahweh, the Holy One in Israel.” Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, 6 all use the worshipful phrase, halleluYAH (Gr. Alleluia). One man told me recently that he had “studied the sacred name doctrine out and found there's nothing to it.” All I can say to that is that you need to study it some more. All you need is a Bible, a good dictionary, encyclopedia, or Bible helps such as a concordance (and an open mind), and start looking up the words mentioned earlier, such as “Lord,” “God,” “Jehovah,” “Yahweh,” 18
“Tetragrammaton,” “Joshua,” etc.
Some have said, “Why should we be reading along in our English Bibles, come to the name of the Creator, and suddenly have to speak Hebrew?” What they don't realize is that most of the names in the Bible are Hebrew, such as “Moses,” “Adam,” “Abraham,” “Isaac,” “Jacob,” “Joseph,” even “Satan.” “Jerusalem,” “Judah,” “Bethany” are all Hebrew. When they speak these names, they are, in effect, speaking Hebrew. Names are not translated from one language to another; they are transliterated. This means the same sound is brought forward into the new language as nearly as possible. “The Lord” is not a translation of “Yahweh.” Neither is “God.” They are substitutions. Paul said, “There are gods many and lords many” (1 Corinthians 8:5). Scripture tells us, Joel 2:32, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be delivered.” This is repeated in Acts 2:21, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be saved.” Acts 4:12, speaking of Yahshua, says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Yahshua carries Yahweh's name. He is Yah's salvation. That is His name. No other name will do. Worship the only true Mighty One, Yahweh, and His Son, our Savior, Yahshua the Messiah.
Winter Advance 2012 (for ages 13-19) Did you have a great teen camp? If so, be sure to sign up for the upcoming winter advance today! Join us from December 27 – 30 (Thursday to Sunday) as we draw near to God through inspiring teachings, awesome praise music, and lots of time to spend together. Weather permitting, we will snow tube and engage in sundry winter sports. Why wait to decide if you’re coming? Sign up today at lhim.org/wa.
Twenties Weekend Would you like to get away for a weekend? Do you need to recommit yourself to God? Are you looking for encouragement? Would you like to reconnect with old friends from teen camp? Whether you’ve been to teen camp or not, come to the twenties camp on January 4-6. This new year, join us for a new event to be held at Camp Woodstock in Connecticut. The cost is $137.00, which includes food and housing. Everything will begin Friday evening (January 4th) and finish up at lunch on Sunday (January 6th). YMCA Camp Woodstock 42 Camp Road Woodstock Valley, CT 06282 If you are interested in helping out with the weekend or have suggestions to contribute, please contact Sean Finnegan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Register today at lhim.org/register.
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