Friday, October 18, 2019

Monothelitism and the Sixth Ecumenical Council

The Sixth Ecumenical Council, also known as the Third Council of Constantinople, condemns two "heresies", Monoenergism and Monothelitism, and in turn affirmed Duoenergism and Duothelitism.  In laymen's terms, they decided that Christ had two Energies (Divien and Human) and two Wills (Divine and Human), and condemned teaching He had only one of either of those.

This is possibly the least talked about of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.  It seems mostly people feel this decision was the logical follow up to the Fourth Ecumenical Council, Chalcedon, where it was decided Christ had two Natures (Divine and Human).  However the Calcedonian Definition also says Christ has one "Person", as in "Personality". indeed Chalcedonians and Miaphysites base their condemnation of Nestorious and Theodore of Mopsuesta on the accusation that they split Jesus' Person in two, that accusation however is false.

While it might be correct to assume one's position of Christ's "Energy" should be the same as His Nature (I have no idea what "Energy" even means in this context).  I feel one's "Will" is part of their Person not their Nature.

Both these controversies had their origins during the reign of Heraclius and his Patriarch of Constantinople Sergius.  Monoenergism came first, and indeed when arguing for it Sergius added that the doctrine of two energies could lead to the erroneous belief that Jesus has two conflicting wills.[9] Suggesting that the default position before anyone disputed it was Jesus having One Will.

I stumbled upon an Orthodox Blog insinuating that Calvanism basically teaches a form of Monothelitism (while assuming it's condemnation as Heresy was valid).  However I feel both Calvanism and Arminianism are founded upon an erroneous assumption that Divine and Human Will conflict with each others, and disagree on which Will prevails in the end.

In my view Jesus has One Will, that All shall be Saved.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Biblically Jesus died the Death of an Oppressor

Galatians 3:13 tells us the Crucifixion of Jesus fits Deuteronomy 21:32 “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  And the Author of The Temple Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls, probably a Jew who lived before Jesus was born, also saw Crucifixion as fitting that.

Many Christians have stressed this connection, but failed to full paint the picture that comes from tracing the history in the rest of the Hebrew Bible of times individuals died this death.

Joshua 8:29 documented this form of execution being carried out on the King of Ai, and in chapter 10 on the Five Kings allied against Israel, there the hung victims are specified to be buried in caves with stones rolled in front of them.  These were the tyrant Kings of the Canaanites that Joshua is leading the Israelites in liberating the Promised Land from.

In Second Samuel 21 innocent people are hung on a Tree.  Seven descendants of Saul, the two by his concubine and the 5 sons of Merab.  They were killed to appease the Gibeonites and atone for Saul's sin against them, because he had oppressed them.

When The Book of Esther says Haman and his sons were "hanged", those familiar with Persian customs and the Hebrew text speculate they were Crucified. The Persians are usually credited with inventing Crucifixion, which the Greeks adopted and the Romans perfected.  That's possibly the most famous oppressor in The Hebrew Bible.

Jesus died for the Sins of All, I have argued against Limited Atonement on this Blog and that is still my position.  But he died the Death of an Oppressor for a few obvious reasons.  One being that is the worst Sin, Paul called himself the Chief of Sinners in 1 Timothy 1:15, his Sin was being an oppressor, oppressing a religious minority.  And also because it is the powerful who's sins often go unpunished in this life, the ones I named above didn't, but many have.  Meanwhile everyone who's poor and oppressed has probably suffered enough for whatever their sins are.

Even though I am absolutely a Leftist in my politics, I have a few things against "Liberation Theology", one was addressed in this blog's previous post.  The other is that they are kind of Calvinists, at least 1 point Calvinists in that they seem to believe in a kind of Limited Atonement, Jesus Died and Rose only for the Oppressed and not their Oppressors.

You see rather then using Scripture to Interpret Scripture they are going off what Crucifixion meant to Rome and those Rome conquered, it was a form of Execution generally carried out on defeated rebels (I believe Barabbas and the two men executed next to Jesus were such rebels, "thief" is an incomplete translation).

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:23 "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness".  It was foolishness to the Greeks (Paul means Gentiles in general here) because they has none of the Biblical context, to them it was a form of execution designed to humiliate the defeated, what God would die like that, or allow their Son to?  But the Jews had the context they needed but just couldn't quite piece it together.  They were not against The Messiah dying or being killed by their enemies, they expect that to happen to Messiah Ben Joseph.  The reason a Crucified Messiah was a problem for them was because they knew that kind of Death as a judgment on their enemies who oppressed them.

And now mainstream Christianity has spent centuries making that worse by oppressing The Jews in the name of Christ Crucified.  Calling them "Christ Killers" when Jesus said of all those guilty of persecuting Him (Jew and Roman) "Father forgive them for they know not what they do".

Saturday, October 12, 2019

I am a Christian Leftist, but I am not a Leftist Christian

I believe that Communism is not just compatible with The New Testament but to some extent called for by it.

But The Gospel itself is not a Political Message, it's the message that every person, every sinner no matter how bad, will be Literally Bodily Resurrected to live forever on this Earth in the New Creation.

What I've sadly found is that those who say they're a Leftist first seem to want to make The Gospel itself the same Gospel Karl Marx preached, and that misses the point.

Jesus had plenty to say to the rich and the ruling class.  But he kind of attacked the Pharisees the most, and something a lot of people don't get is they were NOT the ruling class of that time, the Priesthood was controlled by the Sadducees and the Herodian Dynasty favored the Essenes.  Those rebelling against Rome in 66-73 AD all came out of the Pharisees, the Zealots and Sicarii were both offshoots of the Pharisees.

One thing I've noticed that a lot of Christians on both the Left and the Right don't want to accept is that the New Testament is NOT very anti Rome.  In Acts the Roman authorities are constantly the good guys, the ones making trouble for the early Church were local mobs and businesses, sometimes Jewish and sometimes Pagan, but the Roman authorities were always trying to keep the peace.  Pilate is portrayed very sympathetically, the few times a modern depiction gets that right everyone loses their minds.  And Jesus also praised a Roman centurion for having greater Faith then any of the Jews.

Besides how you interpret the Book of Revelation (I view the Beast is Rome but it's prophetic of the future when Rome became Christian, it's not condemning Pagan Rome), the only thing in The New Testament that makes Rome or Caesar seem bad is when in John 19 those calling for the Crucifixion said "we have no King but Caesar".  So the State is only spiritually bad when you're choosing it over your true King Jesus.

The reason Jesus was rejected by The Jews of His time was because The Messiah they wanted was one who would lead a Revolution against Rome, instead they got one who told them to love their enemies and pray for those who persecuted them.

So I was watching one YouTube video where two Leftist Christians were saying they had a Universalist phase but as they became more Leftist they became uncomfortable with letting the Evil they see in the World go "unpunished" and so are now basically Sadducees, allegorizing away our future Hope.

I'm going to say something really radical, if you truly have a Christ Like Heart, then you desire the Salvation of Adolf Hitler just as much as you desire the Salvation of Anne Frank.

All the Evil that the tyrants and capitalists have done will be undone by Jesus, so demanding "Justice" is utterly pointless.  The only true Forgiveness is forgiving the unforgivable.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Synagogue was Vandalized by Nazis in my Home Town.

https://journaltimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/graffiti-found-on-racine-synagogue-several-anti-semitic-vandalism-incidents/article_45092379-e7e4-5d6f-a62e-7dd91eb13836.html

This really upsets me.

I probably won't be able to attend the Inter-Faith service they're having on September 29th (which happens to be Michalemass, a holiday I think might be connected in origin to one of the Fall Holy Days).  I have family issues going on, and it's on the other side of town and my transportation options are limited.

But my Prayers shall be With Them, I teach on this Blog that Hate is the truly worst Sin and that The Messiah of Israel is still the Messiah of Israel first even though He has also Saved All The Nations.

Monday, September 23, 2019

"Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin"

The modern left repeatedly calls this common mantra of modern American Evangelicalism a hollow meaningless distinction.

When the Christian saying this believes Endless Fiery Torment is how God punishes Sin, then I agree, it is utterly nonsensical to claim you "love the Sinner" or that your view of God does.

Now I don't consider Homosexuality or Homosexual acts as Sinful, same with cross-dressing or identifying a gender other then the one you were assigned at birth, and a lot of other things.

But I still want to defend the true meaning of this statement, it may not exactly come from The Bible but neither does Homousian.  I do believe God Hates Sin, but His anger is but a moment (Psalm 30) long enough to judge and purge the Sin.  God Is Love and His punishments come from His Love as our Father.

Jesus said the whole of the Law is to Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. Therefore I conclude that the Sin that God so vehemently Hates is Hatred.  Even Esau, the one specific person The Bible seemingly says God "Hated" (past tense) is described as Hating his brother Jacob in Genesis 27.  And Judas Iscariot, the "Son of Perdition" behaved hatefully towards Mary of Bethany.

This is an important opportunity for me to really stress that I believe in Universal Salvation and Affirming Homosexuality.  If there are other Universal Salvation teachers who agree that Homosexuality isn't a Sin, they aren't publicly stressing it. It's as if they want maintain as much credibility as possible with conservative Evangelicals.  Well I believe I qualify as an Evangelical, since I preach the Evangelion, The Resurrection of The Flesh.

Some of you might be thinking "if they don't think anyone goes to Hell for Eternity, what does it matter if they technically think Homosexual acts are a sin".  Because we do believe God's punishments are for Correction, so I don't want Gay and Trans people thinking that means God is going to simply rewrite an important part of who they are.  And it can also still lead to supporting things like Gay conversion therapy, which is basically torture.  So it is important to me to stress that what God seeks to correct is hateful and harmful behavior, not Love.

My arguments regarding Homsoexuality and Universal Salvation happen to be intimately linked to each other, because of my view of Romans, particularly how Chapter 11 contextualizes chapter 1, is vital to both.

I agree with the view that Romans 18-32 is a rhetorical rant largely drawing on works like the Wisdom of Solomon and possibly Philo, and that the rest of Romans is refuting the people who say things like that.

The "Clobber verses" from this section speak of something being "against nature" (Para Phusis), and then verse 28 talks about God giving sinners up to a reprobate mind which is the basis for the Baptist doctrine then some people are beyond saving.

But in Romans 11 "against nature" (Para Phusis) is used of what God does grafting people who do not biologically descend from Jacob into the family of Israel, showing that being "against nature" (Para Phusis) can't be inherently bad.  And then after the fullness of the Gentiles are grafted into Israel, All Israel shall be Saved.  For God Consigned ALL to Disobedience so that he might have Mercy on All.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Do we have a Promise that we will be with God as soon as we die?

We are definitely promised to be with God in Eternity.  My issue here is with the timing some people stress, often people tying this to rejecting a Physical Bodily Resurrection and/or Premillennialism.

As I've said in past posts about the issues of Soul Sleep and Annihilationism, I have become undecided on if we have a conscience state between physical death and Resurrection.  There is Biblical evidence that can go either way.

This post is partly my desire to respond to something I read recently on an article specifically against Premillennialism that cited the following verses as promises we will be with God as soon as we "die" and viewing this doctrine as being in conflict with Premillennialism.

(Luke 23:42-43; John 14:2-4; 17:24; Phil. 1:22-23; 2 Cor. 5:6-8; Heb. 12:22-24; 2 Pet. 1:11; Rev. 6:9-11; 14:1-5; 15:2; 18:20; 19:14)

I don't really feel like there necessarily is a conflict between this idea and Premillennialism, but I looked into these verses and I don't feel they make that argument.

But first, I want to respond to how this article refers to this "promise" as being "the central Hope of the Christian Faith", it most certainly is not.  The Gospel is the Resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15 doesn't talk about where we go when we die, neither did the Old Roman Symbol or the "rule of faith" cited by Tertullian and Ireneaus, nor did either the Nicene Creed or the Nicene-Constantinople Creed.  The Pre-Nicene Creeds even specifically stressed it as a carnal Resurrection.  I don't think the people at this website are necessarily intending to deny a bodily Resurrection, but claiming where our souls go when we die rather then the Resurrection as our central blessed hope shows how this idea can be a gateway to undermining The Resurrection.

Now as far as talking about these verses go, I want to save the Revelation ones for last since they are a special case.

First is what Jesus said to the Thief on the Cross.  I agree with Lex Meyer that the English Translations of this verse should move the comma.  "Verily I say unto thee to day, shalt thou be with me in paradise".  First off the thief probably wasn't even dead within 24 hours, Jesus died as soon as he did for a number of reasons, but standard crucifixion took days.  And Jesus didn't go directly to paradise either but descended into Sheol/Hades.

The Mansions in Heaven verse in John doesn't tell us when we enter those Mansions, I believe those Mansions are in New Jerusalem, the context talks about when he comes again, not when we die.  Hebrews 12 likewise is about New Jerusalem.

It's similar with most of these verses, they are about our promise to be with God but don't actually say anything about when that happens, these people quoting them as doing so are just assuming.

The verses from Philippians and 2 Corinthians are perhaps best understood in the context of what InspiringPhilosophy explains about how Paul uses those terms in 1 Corinthians 15.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rffmrioFnBY

1 Peter 1:11 explicitly refer to the Glory that follows the Suffering of Christ, that's clearly The Resurrection.

Before I go onto Revelation, one verse not cited on this list that I think is relevant is when Jesus said those who Believe in Him will Never Die.  That's why the term "Soul Sleep" is popular, Paul repeatedly refers to currently physical deceased believers as being "Asleep".  In which case if we simply wake up at the Resurrection, it will still functionally seem the same as being with God as soon as we died.

Now onto the Revelation verses.  It's funny because as a non Premillennial this website clearly isn't taking all of Revelation literally at face value, but when it suits how they prefer to see things they will.  I suppose however to some extent there is no view of Revelation that can't be accused of to some extent picking and choosing what to take literally.  So I won't throw stones in that regard, I'll just make my case.

Revelation 6:9-11 is the Fifth Seal.  Now as someone who tries to take Revelation as literally as I can, I really don't think this verse is telling us that all the Martyrs are literally dwelling under an Altar.  When we understand what the purpose of the Altar of Incense was in the Tabernacle, and connect this to what happens after the Seventh Seal is opening in Revelation 8, I think this is mainly about the Altar having their Prayers that they Prayed as they suffered for Christ.

Verse 11 also says they shall rest a little while longer.

The rest of the Revelation verses start in Chapter 14, I could actually add at least one from Chapter 13.  The end of Chapter 11 and beginning of Chapter 12 is where I place The Parusia/Rapture, that's why there are no Saints dwelling in Heaven.  Revelation 14 specifically uses language of the Resurrection like being the First Fruits and Redeemed of The Earth to describe the 144,000.

So indeed, none of these verses contradict the possibly that we are asleep between bodily Death and Resurrection.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Semi-Arianism and the Second Ecumenical Council

The first Canon of the First Council of Constantinople is commonly read as follows, emphasis mine.
The Faith of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Fathers assembled at Nice in Bithynia shall not be set aside, but shall remain firm.  And every heresy shall be anathematized, particularly that of the Eunomians or [Anom├Žans, the Arians or] Eudoxians, and that of the Semi-Arians or Pneumatomachi, and that of the Sabellians, and that of the Marcellians, and that of the Photinians, and that of the Apollinarians.
However some variants read "Macedonians" instead of "Semi-Arians" and many scholars believe that is more accurate.  The context and grammar here clearly intends to use this name as a synonym for the Pneumatomachi who were founded by a Macedonius, and every other Hersey on this list is identified by it's founder.  Macedonius may have also qualified as a type of Semi-Arian but the heresy he's uniquely associated with is denying the Divinity of The Holy Spirit.

Also the term "Semi-Arian" was probably not actually used at the time of the Council, it's a term Scholars made up later to refer to various attempted compromises between the Nicene position of Athanasius and proper Arianism.

There were many different forms of Semi-Arianism, many opposed the term Homusian as much as the proper Arians, but others did not.  Indeed some were specially trying to make their Semi-Arianism compatible with the Nicene Creed.  Meletius of Antioch was the main example of this variety.

The basic gist of Semi-Arianism is believing Jesus was Begotten before or at the beginning of Creation.  That in essence He did already exist as the Word of God before then, but this Begetting was the beginning of His existence as a distinct Person.

People constantly present the history of the Second Ecumenical Council as when even Semi-Arianism was condemned as no longer compatible with Orthodoxy.  But the additions to the Nicene Creed at Constantinople are all focused on addressing other heresies with a different focus, particularly issues related to The Holy Spirit.

In fact, if anything, Semi-Arianism is more compatible with the Nicene-Constantinople Creed then it was the Original Creed.  Both versions refer to Jesus being "Begotten not Made", but in the original Nicene Creed it's entirely possible to interpret the Begetting as being in reference to His being Begotten in Mary's Womb at the Incarnation.  The Constantinople version however declares that Jesus was...
 "Begotten of The Father before all Aions(Eons/Ages, commonly mistranslated Worlds)".
That declaration is not only compatible with Semi-Arianism, but I would argue is inherently Semi-Arian.  The only way to make this compatible with proper Athanasianism is to say that The Word already had a distinct personality before this Pre-Creation Begetting, but why would that be the case?  What's the point of being Begotten in that sense?

Just take a look at this Arian Compromise Creed proposed by the 359 Council of Seleucia.
We confess then, and believe in one God the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and of things visible and invisible. We believe also in his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who was begotten of him without passion before all ages, God the Word, the only-begotten of God, the Light, the Life, the Truth, the Wisdom: through whom all things were made which are in the heavens and upon the earth, whether visible or invisible. We believe that he took flesh of the holy Virgin Mary, at the end of the ages, in order to abolish sin; that he was made man, suffered for our sin, and rose again, and was taken up into the heavens, to sit at the right hand of the Father, whence he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. We believe also in the Holy Spirit, whom our Lord and Saviour has denominated the Comforter, and whom he sent to his disciples after his departure, according to his promise: by whom also he sanctifies all believers in the church, who are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Those who preach anything contrary to this creed, we regard as aliens from the catholic church.
It is awfully close to the Nicene-Constantinople Creed on this issue at least with the only significant difference being the lack of Homoousion.

My study into the history of Emperor Theodosius I implies to me a compromise settlement is what he was going for on the Arian debate, but not one that could be seen as in any way a rejection of Nicaea.  His support of Meletius of Antioch is evidence of that.

The Scriptural Basis usually cited for this Pre-Creation Begetting is Proverbs 8:22-29 and sometimes Psalm 45:1.  The idea that Proverbs 8 refers to a Pre-Creation Begetting of Jesus goes back at least as far as Tertullian in Against Praxeas Chapter 5.

Building Doctrine on something you can only find even alluded to in Poetic books is very shaky.  Especially ones written by the highly suspect Solomon.  But these Early Christians were also basing this on the Septuagint Greek Translations of these chapters, the Masoretic/KJV/YLT readings don't support this interpretation.  Also I believe Wisdom in Proverbs 8 is The Holy Spirit not Jesus.

As far as Jesus being called the "Firstborn of Creation", the Firstborn is a status sometimes given in the Hebrew Bible to individuals who were not literally the Firstborn like Joseph.  It is only because of the Incarnation that Jesus qualifies as being "born" at all, but he's The Firstborn because of Who He Is not when He was born.

Jesus was called the Beginning, but that doesn't mean He had a Beginning, it just means that Creation Began with His actions, as I talked about a few days ago.  When Jesus said "Before Abraham was I Am" even if you question that as a direct reference to the I Am of the old Testament, it implies not just preexistence but of a lack of beginning, he didn't just say he existed before Abraham.  I've also already talked about how John 1:3 proves Jesus isn't a created being.

So if they wanted to rule out even Semi-Arianism, they should have done the opposite of what they did on the Begetting issue and clarified Jesus only Begetting was in the Womb of Mary.

Update 10/14/2010:

I had failed to notice that the Calcedonian Definition also contains this Semi-Arian statement.  "before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead", this issue is not really relevant to the main issue Calcedon was discussing, but still, Calcedonian Christianity is officially Semi-Arian.

I want to further show that the begetting of Jesus can only be in The Womb of Mary.

Hebrews 11 refers to Isaac as Abraham's "Only Begotten" (same Greek term used in John 3:16) Son at the time of the Offering of Isaac in Genesis 22.  The Author of Hebrews (who I believe was Paul who talked about Hagar in Galatians, but regardless of that) clearly knew enough about Genesis to know Ishmael was alive at this time.

Judges 8 refers to the 70 sons of Gideon's Wives as being Begotten but not Abimelech the son of the Concubine.

So contrary to what we at first assume, being a Begotten Son at least in part technically depends on having the right Mother, of being the Son of a Wife rather then a Concubine.  YHWH's Wife is Israel, Mary is an Israelite.  So Jesus is the only Begotten Son of God because He is The Son of Mary.

Every Old Testament example of Jesus being called a Son either of God or of Man or of David is prophetic, in the present tense the Second Person of The Hebrew Bible's Trinity is The Word of YHWH and The Angel of YHWH.