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Trailers from Christian movies

rakovsky

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In the movie Biblical Prophecy of John, the narrator says of a local church of Laodecea described in John's Revelation and located in what is now in modern Turkey:
One of the members was Philemon. ... Philemon was a wealthy landowner in this area who owned many slaves. One of them was Onesimus whose name means useless, ran away. Paul met him, converted him to the faith and sent him back to his master Philemon. Recently archeologists here in Laodicea found a plaque to a Marcus Cestus Philemon for his benefactions to the city.. I wonder if their Philemon was our Philemon to whom Paul wrote in the New Testament?
It's interesting to see from archeology what a large role some of the mid 1st century Christians had in their local societies.
 

rakovsky

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In The Early Christianity (From a Cult to a Religion) – How the First Christians Changed the World, the movie quotes the Fourth Commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-10k_sfs2g)
To paraphrase, the movie says:
The Christians become alienated from the Jews. ... Church leaders begin to devalue the sabbath for the more popular Roman Sunday. Some Christians mistakenly thought you should fast on the Sabbath but you could feast on Sunday. That's what the pagans did, they feasted on Sunday, fasted on Saturday. Not a Jewish concept. The Jews fasted on Friday, feasted on the Sabbath. So if your fasting on one day and feasting on the next, you can guess which becomes the more popular day.
What do you think, is there a contradiction in the two treatments of these days for a mid-first century faithful Christian Jew? On which day would he fast and on which would he feast, if he wanted to keep both holy in honor of both traditions to which he belonged?

Dr. Pettibone says:
For alot of Christians, during this period of time would observe the sabbath and then onSunday they would have a service remembering the resurrection, and then they would go about their work. It's during the time of Constantine in which the idea of transferring the solemnity of the Sabbath to Sunday is expressed.
The narrator concludes:
Centuries earlier, the prophet Daniel had foretold, a religious power would arise that would think to change times and laws. Within the ten commandments, there is only one law that is also a time - the Sabbath.
This probably refers to Daniel 7, which says:
24. And the ten horns are ten kings who will rise from this kingdom. After them another king, different from the earlier ones, will rise and subdue three kings. 25. He will speak out against the Most High and oppress the saints of the Most High, intending to change the set times and laws, and the saints will be given into his hand for a time, and times, and half a time. 26. But the court will convene, and his dominion will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.
I don't think that this refers to Constantine, because he didn't speak against God, the Most High.

The movie also complains that the church began to use repetitive prayers, like when Catholics pray a large number of "Hail Mary"s as part of penance. It compares this to pagans making repetitive prayers to appease pagan deities and quotes Matthew 6:7, which goes: "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."
What do you think? For me, the difference between what Jesus was criticizing and the Catholic practice (or the Jesus prayer for example) is that the Catholics don't intend for their prayers to be vain.
 

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Is this a Seventh Day Adventist film? I could see them making that argument.

I could also see Jewish antimissionaries arguing that Jesus is the changer of times and laws that Daniel foretold (or even Old Calendarists arguing that it's Pat. Athenagoras lol), so I'm not sure there's much objectivity to such an appeal.

In terms of the argument itself, I think the Council of Nicaea deciding to ditch 14 Nisan was the most definitive break with the Jewish past. All bets were off from that point. I don't know what the timeline of changes in the observance were up to that point (I'd imagine it was uneven, with variations on Sabbartarianism being a lot more common in places where Christians lived and worked closely with Jews).


And I think that if Jesus in Matthew is condemning all repetition, period, then a lot of the Psalms are in vain, too. Jesus must have been speaking about a particular kind of bad prayer--prayer without faith, perhaps. I need to read some Patristic commentaries on that verse.
 

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Good points, thanks. I don't know who the movie producer is, but they must have been a Protestant group because of their criticisms of Catholicism.
 

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In Banned from the Bible I, the movie says:
By the 4th c. the RC church [said] Mary remained a virgin throughout her life. Yet the Bible also reports the existence of Mary's 4 other sons and a number of unnamed daughters. And thus for some Christian believers, the question of Mary's perpetual virginity became a problem.
How might one defend the concept of her perpetual virginity while also accepting that Jesus had brothers and sisters? Is it that brothers and sisters referred to extended siblings like half brothers from Joseph or cousins? The movie says that the Protoevangelion gives the first answer, that they were Joseph's offspring, and that this answer was picked up by Church writers later.

In discussing the Gospel of Nicodemus, the movie says that this Gospel was popular among early Christians because "...it suggested that heaven and hell exist here and now on earth." The movie then interviews a Greek Orthodox priest from St Sophia's in Los Angeles, who says: "It is a holy tradition of the church to say that Jesus descended into the pit of despair, into the pit of darkness. Because what is hell? Hell is distance from God. Hell is being outside of the light and love of God."
Is this a correct description?




 

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The "children of St. Joseph from a previous marriage" view is mainly based on the ambiguity of "adelphoi" (for example, Lot in the LXX is described as "adelphos" of Abraham, even though he was really Abraham's nephew), whereas I don't think there was a seperate word for "stepbrother" in the Greek parlance of the day. In the same vein, we could also perhaps consider the Theotokos to be their adopted mother (though this might step on some apologetics regarding John 19:25-29).

The "cousins" view is also possible, but seems less likely given that Greek did have a separate word for cousin, IIRC. St. Jerome is one of the few Fathers who believed this. I think the motivation was that (as I read somewhere or other) for some reason he thought that St. Joseph was a lifelong celibate.

Is this a correct description?
The priest is giving the standard River of Fire spiel, nothing really controversial there. But whatever the Gospel of Nicodemus really says about Hell, I'd bet dollars to donuts that the filmmakers want it to say that "Hell is in this life... because there is no Hell after death."

And sure enough, there were plenty of universalists in the early Church, but I have no idea if the author of the Gospel of Nicodemus was one of them or not (and if they were a universalist, whether they considered Hell as continuing after death and then ceasing at some point).

Or alternately, the filmmakers want "Hell is in this life" to imply that the author of the Gospel of Nicodemus doesn't believe in life after death. But that's a little less parsimonious, I suppose.
 

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rakovsky said:
In Banned from the Bible I, the movie says:
By the 4th c. the RC church [said] Mary remained a virgin throughout her life. Yet the Bible also reports the existence of Mary's 4 other sons and a number of unnamed daughters. And thus for some Christian believers, the question of Mary's perpetual virginity became a problem.
How might one defend the concept of her perpetual virginity while also accepting that Jesus had brothers and sisters? Is it that brothers and sisters referred to extended siblings like half brothers from Joseph or cousins? The movie says that the Protoevangelion gives the first answer, that they were Joseph's offspring, and that this answer was picked up by Church writers later.

In discussing the Gospel of Nicodemus, the movie says that this Gospel was popular among early Christians because "...it suggested that heaven and hell exist here and now on earth." The movie then interviews a Greek Orthodox priest from St Sophia's in Los Angeles, who says: "It is a holy tradition of the church to say that Jesus descended into the pit of despair, into the pit of darkness. Because what is hell? Hell is distance from God. Hell is being outside of the light and love of God."
Is this a correct description?
I mean, hell/hades could probably be described as a lot of things. That captures part of it...
 

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The movie "From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians" by PBS presents an alleged contradiction - the Synoptics propose that the Last Supper was on the Passover, whereas the Gospel of John suggests that the Last Supper was several days before the Passover.

The website Catholic.com clears up the discrepancy for me:
According to The Navarre Study Bible, in Mark’s Gospel the Pharisees and Sadducees had a different way of celebrating feast days (51-52). The Pharisees were strict in their observance. If the fifteenth of Nisan fell on Friday, then that would be the day they celebrated the Passover. The Sadducees, on the other hand, were more liberal and had no problem with moving a feast day in certain situations. This practice is analogous to our modern practice of moving some feast days to Sunday when they actually occur during the week (as is commonly practiced with the feast of the Epiphany). It could also be likened to the bishops declaring a holy day not obligatory because of the day upon which it happens to fall. For example, if a holy day falls on a Friday, the bishops will sometimes dispense Catholics from the obligation of attending Mass on that particular holy day for that year.

What does all of this mean? When Jesus actually celebrated the Passover, he did it in the traditional way of the Pharisees. That is what we see in the synoptic Gospels. With the Pharisees, Jesus kept the Passover strictly in accord with what Moses said in Ex. 12. However, when John wrote about Christ’s passion, he does not put the emphasis on the Lord’s Supper that the synoptic Gospel writers do. In fact, he does not mention the Lord’s Supper at all. He emphasizes the crucifixion. Only in passing, as he describes the activity of the day, does John mention that it was "the day of preparation." John was not speaking of the practice of Jesus and the apostles; he was speaking of the practice of the Sadducees, who had a large number of priests in their camp and great influence in the culture at the time. This fact explains why John calls Friday the "day of preparation" instead of Thursday. The Sadducees, who moved the Passover to Saturday, celebrated the day of preparation on Friday, rather than on Thursday as Jesus and the apostles did.

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/how-do-we-explain-the-passover-discrepancy
Otherwise, I liked the 2 Part movie and recommend it:
https://www.pbs.org/video/jesus-christ-first-christians-part-one-uosmze/
 

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In the Documentary "The Beloved Disciple", in the Naked Archeologist Series, the movie tries to decide who the Beloved Disciple is at the Last Supper, Crucifixion, and empty tomb. Prof James Tabor of UNC says that in the Gospel of John, only some of the disciples are listed as being at the last supper and he concludes that the Beloved disciple must be unnamed in that list.

Prof. Tabor says that the Beloved Disciple must be his brother James, because at the Cross, Jesus says "Son, behold your mother", and in Judaism, the second son takes over the leading role in the family's heritage after the death of the oldest son.

James Charlesworth says that the Beloved Disciple hesitated before going into the tomb and waited for Peter to show up, and this is because Judaism demanded that one who enters a grave separate himself for purification for 6 days. He notes that Thomas wasn't there with the disciples when Jesus showed up after the resurrection, and so Thomas must have been purifying himself for 6 days, having been at the tomb. Charlesworth notes that Thomas wants to see the wound in the resurrected Jesus' side, and that Thomas would know about the side wound from seeing Jesus' crucifixion, since crucifixion victims weren't normally pierced.

He is named Didymus, meaning twin in Greek. This brings us back to the question of whose twin Thomas was that I raised on an earlier thread. Charlesworth notes that Thomas in Aramaic means twin.

The narrator toys with the idea that this could mean that Judah Thomas could be Jesus' son, because a twin looks like a brother like a son looks like his father. But this option doesn't sound good to me because I think Jesus said "Son behold your Mother" regarding the Virgin Mary, who certainly wasn't Jesus' wife.

The narrator also proposes that the beloved disciple is the young man in the garden of Gethsemane, since the beloved disciple isn't mentioned in John's gospel in the events betweent he last supper and crucifixion.

What do you think? I took the Beloved Disciple to refer to the disciple John.
 

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I think Simcha Jacobovici just enjoys trolling Christians.

The idea that Thomas is the BD clashes with the idea that it's James (though if I were to name somebody other than John as the BD, it would be James, since the "Son, behold your Mother" is admittedly difficult for me to reconcile with John being the BD). But it doesn't make a lot of sense as being James, since he seems to be named as an unbeliever in John 7, yet we get no "redemption narrative" for him at any point in the Gospel (like we find in the Apocryphon of James, in which Jesus appears to him specially after the Resurrection).

If the BD is the young man, why isn't he mentioned in John?

Thomas being Jesus's son sounds like a troll argument that doesn't make any sense. They would have to explain why Jesus having a son, if He did, would be hidden like that. "A son looks like a twin" also sounds pretty far-fetched to me. My guess is that Thomas was the twin of Thaddeus, who he gets paired with in later tradition. But apparently nobody in the Early Church cared all that much, maybe his twin never became a Christian or he died before Thomas's calling.


So, I don't really see any compelling reason to reject the tradition that John is the BD.
 

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Here is an interesting documentary:

The Acts of Thomas and the Mission to India

How did Christianity get to India? Did Thomas really travel across the Middle East and preach the gospel in South Asia? Historians debate these questions and more, but regardless of the literal truth, the Acts of Thomas provides spiritual guidance about humanity's place in the world and challenges us to liberate ourselves.
https://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Judass-Gnostic-Vision/dp/B077T65D2P/ref=sr_1_4?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1536540310&sr=1-4&keywords=gnostic+christian
 

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The Holy Mountain (1973, Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVhuY66egeQ

I think that one of the ways they want you to watch this "Christian Gnostic" movie is while mixing beer with vodka and smoking a pipe with a native American tobacco mix ("Kinnikinnick") or cloves. You could instead have it playing to the side while you read Christian gnostic literature and you won't miss much of the movie.





Gospel of Thomas audio video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqQUHXfqR6I
(Polymorphic presentation: http://www.gospelofthomas.tv/)
You need to watch only 20 seconds of this to get the idea.
:angel: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:    How to describe it? Mesmerizing?

The Shack
Just looks like modern thinking by an author on his own about his own interpretations of Christianity. Not particularly gnostic or orthodox.
 

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In the Russian movie about Andrew the First-Called (https://azbyka.ru/video/apostoly-12-serij-2014-god), the narrator says that in the Russian Chronicles from medieval times there is a story that Andrew traveled from Crimea to Kiev and then north to Novgorod. In Kiev, he supposedly put a cross where the cathedral of Andrew the First-Called stands. The film says that a trade route existed from Kiev and Novgorod to Western Europe and so St Andrew really could have taken this route. What do you think is the likelihood that he did?





Cathedral and chapel of St Andrew in Kiev
 

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It's certainly possible. Kind of the opposite way he seemed to go on his travels, though (Greece and Asia Minor). I find it a lot more likely than him going to Scotland, at least.
 

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rakovsky said:
In the Russian movie about Andrew the First-Called (https://azbyka.ru/video/apostoly-12-serij-2014-god), the narrator says that in the Russian Chronicles from medieval times there is a story that Andrew traveled from Crimea to Kiev and then north to Novgorod. In Kiev, he supposedly put a cross where the cathedral of Andrew the First-Called stands. The film says that a trade route existed from Kiev and Novgorod to Western Europe and so St Andrew really could have taken this route. What do you think is the likelihood that he did?





Cathedral and chapel of St Andrew in Kiev
well considering the church accepts the idea that saint Andrew the first called went to Kiev and put the cross up it is very likely and true!
 

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In the Documentary Who Wrote the Bible?, the narrator visits the Shrine of the Book where the Isaiah scroll is kept and has the following discussion:
NARRATOR: During the exile, the Book of Isaiah was continued by someone else and in the process a new idea emerged, one of Israel redeemed through suffering and rejection. This idea was a way of dealing with the problem of how God allowed the exile to happen.

GUIDE: We suffer in order to atone for the sins of the nations. This is why we suffer. The sin of the nations is their worship of idols and we are punished for their sin. ... they have a mission and this is something we see in many verses in this scroll. 'I send you now my servant Israel to the nations to bring light to them to tell them about the God of Israel' and he continues the ideas of First Isaiah.

NARRATOR: The idea that your suffering can save not just yourself, but everyone is for many genuinely liberating.
I know that the idea of the suffering servant is in Isaiah 53, which we consider to be about the Messiah. But are there verses in Isaiah which, according to Christian Orthodoxy and our Tradition, teach that the ancient Israelite community suffered for the gentile nations, as the main view in modern rabbinical Judaism teaches?
 

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I would think that the idea that the Suffering Servant is both Israel and Christ on different levels would appeal to some of the Fathers, but I don't have specifics.
 

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According to the movie What Happened to the JC Bunch?, the followers of James were the Ebionites and didn't believe that Jesus was God. (https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Archaeologist-Episode-Happened-Tracking/dp/B00IQ3XQ90/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536861210&sr=8-1&keywords=What+happened+to+the+JC+Bunch%3F) But it doesn't seem to provide enough proof for why they were Ebionites as opposed to Nazarenes. After all, the Talmud says that there were two groups of Christians, the Nazarenes and the Ebionites. The Nazarenes are mentioned by Jerome as Jewish Christians who follow Torah but also accept the Church's theology.

Next, he interviews Eisenman who says that James' movement was the Essenes and left their records at Qumran, and that they called their leader "The Just One" or "Righteous One" (Tzaddik). James was called "James the Just" (Tzaddik). But just because their leader is called Tzaddik doesn't prove to me that they were the same leaders, since Tzaddik was a common title of reverence in ancient Judaism.

Eisenman points to a letter called MMT in Qumran that is written to a foreign ruler and explains how to uphold righteouensness. However, I don't know why such a letter wouldn't be written by a nonChristian. He says that it has the same contents as James' letter in Acts 15 where he tells them to keep the Noahide rules. But even a nonChristian Jew writing to a foreigner would tell him to keep the Noahide rules. The Qumran scrolls also describe an unnamed enemy of their community.

He sees Paul and Paul's movement as being separate from and in conflict with James', and he points to the Clementine Recognitions for this. I remember reading that the 2nd or 3rd century AD Clementine Recognitions were Ebionite or Ebionite in some of their sources, but I don't know why this means that the Recognitions would be correct in separating Paul's from James' Christianity. The Recognitions do both respect James and Peter, and yet so does Paul in his writings. The Clementines speak of the Hostile Man or Enemy who throws James down from the Temple without killing him and who then gets a letter from the High Priest to chase them to Damascus. In Acts 9, Paul gets a letter to chase the Christians down to Damascus. The problem with equating Paul with this enemy such that Paul remained the enemy of a supposed Christian Qumran, as I see it, is that Paul reconciled with the Christians.

Eisenman says Paul chased James from Damascus but missed him around Jericho, and so it means James' community went into the desert like the Qumran community. The Clementines say that James' community went to a tomb around Jericho and housed the remains of two brothers that whitened every year, and Eisenman takes the narrator to a cemetery 10 km from Jericho that points to a promontory of bright earth. Where do the Clementines talk about this? Do you agree that Qumran belonged to James' community? I am skeptical because it isn't overtly Christian.

The narrator then says that in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the Jewish and Christian communities rejected the Jewish Christians because on one hand they followed Jesus as the Messiah and on the other hand they kept the Torah rules.

To me though, this kind of division between Pauline and James' Christian communities is too severe for reality, wouldn't you agree? In Acts, Peter had a vision annulling the food rules. And Peter founded Christian communities in Rome and Antioch. Clement was Peter's successor, and yet it looks like Flavians Clemens was both a Christian and an observant convert to Judaism at some point. Meanwhile, John the apostle was close to well known Christians like Papias and Polycarp who became Church leaders. And Paul respected James, Peter, and John as pillars of the Christian community in Paul's letters. Besides that, the 12 apostles were evangelizing the known world and helping set up churches. Yet the church that came out of their efforts in the 1st and 2nd century wasn't teaching Torah observance but a Pauline-style look at the Old Testament.

Besides that, already in about 70 AD there was the Council of Jamnia where the same rabbis who formalized the books of the Tanakh/Old Testament also placed a ban on Christianity, so there must have been a split between the Nazarenes and the rabbinical establishment already in the 1st century. Besides that, already in Matthew we see Jesus taking a critical stance to the pharisees and the standard observance of the Torah, like when he plucked grain on Sabbath or stopped an execution in John's gospel. The movie says that the MINIM means "Others" in Hebrew, and this is the name of the group cursed as "the Heretics" in the ancient Jewish synagogue reforms.

The movie wants to say that Jewish Christians didn't accept Jesus' divinity and supernatural qualities, yet in the gospel of the Nazarenes or Ebionites, Jesus is given divine or supernatural attributes like when he had light coming out of his eyes in the Temple or in Gethsemane to stop his captors IIRC.

The movie also proposes that the Jewish Christians were in Capernaum's synagogues in the 5th century AD because one of its columns mentions names that could be found in the Christian NT, like John, Son of Zebediah, etc. (Compare with John the son of Zebedee).

The narrator goes to a synagogue from about 300 AD in Tiberias. It has what looks like a mosaic of the Zodiac on its floor, as well as traditional Jewish symbols and pictures of pagan idols and maybe early Christian symbols. The narrator sees this as more evidence of Jewish Christians in synagogues. In the center of the Zodiac a picture looks like Sol Invictus, Helios, which the narrator says became Jesus resurrected for the Christians. In the picture, rays come out of his head and he has a halo. He says Roman emperors no longer wore a crown with rays once Christianity became legal. He says that this is a Christian symbol encrypted into the flooring because when the synagogue was built Christianity was still illegal. Do you agree with his view about this being a partly or fundamentally Christian synagogue?

Another drawing there on the floor is of an uncircumcised boy holding scales of justice. It looks like it is placed as one of the zodiac signs (It's probably Libra, the scales). He says that all the other signs of the Zodiac are fine except for 1. Aquarius standing next to the 2. fish, PISCES. He says that the word next to Aquarius is GLEE, meaning vessel in Hebrew, but that the words are written in reverse so that you need a mirror to read it, suggesting encoding. He refers to the story in the synoptics where Jesus says that the apostles should follow a man with a pitcher into the place where they will have the last supper. He says also that in PISCES' Zodiac symbol the G for the Hebrew word for fish is reversed, turning it into a symbol that looks like a Chevron. He suggests that it means that the viewer should flip everything - the viewer might think it's a pagan Zodiac but that the viewer should flip this idea and conclude that it's not pagan. Another archeologist whom he interviews named Motti doesn't believe that these are signs of Christian origins.

In the 1980's an archeologist named Dauphin found Christian-Jewish symbols in a village named Farj near the Golan that has early Byzantine ruins from c. 500 AD, such as a Menorah with a crossed bar in the middle making it look like a combination menorah and cross. The narrator finds a tree of life symbol on a door jam where in Judaism a mezuzah would be placed and he sees this use of the symbol as a sign of Jewish Christianity in the village.
 

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rakovsky said:
According to the movie What Happened to the JC Bunch?, the followers of James were the Ebionites and didn't believe that Jesus was God. (https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Archaeologist-Episode-Happened-Tracking/dp/B00IQ3XQ90/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536861210&sr=8-1&keywords=What+happened+to+the+JC+Bunch%3F) But it doesn't seem to provide enough proof for why they were Ebionites as opposed to Nazarenes. After all, the Talmud says that there were two groups of Christians, the Nazarenes and the Ebionites. The Nazarenes are mentioned by Jerome as Jewish Christians who follow Torah but also accept the Church's theology.

Next, he interviews Eisenman who says that James' movement was the Essenes and left their records at Qumran, and that they called their leader "The Just One" or "Righteous One" (Tzaddik). James was called "James the Just" (Tzaddik). But just because their leader is called Tzaddik doesn't prove to me that they were the same leaders, since Tzaddik was a common title of reverence in ancient Judaism.

Eisenman points to a letter called MMT in Qumran that is written to a foreign ruler and explains how to uphold righteouensness. However, I don't know why such a letter wouldn't be written by a nonChristian. He says that it has the same contents as James' letter in Acts 15 where he tells them to keep the Noahide rules. But even a nonChristian Jew writing to a foreigner would tell him to keep the Noahide rules. The Qumran scrolls also describe an unnamed enemy of their community.
I'm leery of anybody who tries to claim that the Qumranites and the Essenes are the same group. How does he deal with the fact that the DSS have no mention of the celibacy that Philo and Josephus tell us were so important to the Essenes?

I haven't seen the movie, but I agree with you that some of the claims sound far fetched.

rakovsky said:
He sees Paul and Paul's movement as being separate from and in conflict with James', and he points to the Clementine Recognitions for this. I remember reading that the 2nd or 3rd century AD Clementine Recognitions were Ebionite or Ebionite in some of their sources, but I don't know why this means that the Recognitions would be correct in separating Paul's from James' Christianity. The Recognitions do both respect James and Peter, and yet so does Paul in his writings. The Clementines speak of the Hostile Man or Enemy who throws James down from the Temple without killing him and who then gets a letter from the High Priest to chase them to Damascus. In Acts 9, Paul gets a letter to chase the Christians down to Damascus. The problem with equating Paul with this enemy such that Paul remained the enemy of a supposed Christian Qumran, as I see it, is that Paul reconciled with the Christians.

Eisenman says Paul chased James from Damascus but missed him around Jericho, and so it means James' community went into the desert like the Qumran community. The Clementines say that James' community went to a tomb around Jericho and housed the remains of two brothers that whitened every year, and Eisenman takes the narrator to a cemetery 10 km from Jericho that points to a promontory of bright earth. Where do the Clementines talk about this? Do you agree that Qumran belonged to James' community? I am skeptical because it isn't overtly Christian.
I haven't read the Oh My Darlin' Clementines, sorry.

rakovsky said:
The narrator then says that in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the Jewish and Christian communities rejected the Jewish Christians because on one hand they followed Jesus as the Messiah and on the other hand they kept the Torah rules.
Sounds about right. You can see the tensions even in St. Justin Martyr. Though I don't know how far back into the NT-era you can read a clean break.

rakovsky said:
To me though, this kind of division between Pauline and James' Christian communities is too severe for reality, wouldn't you agree? In Acts, Peter had a vision annulling the food rules. And Peter founded Christian communities in Rome and Antioch. Clement was Peter's successor, and yet it looks like Flavians Clemens was both a Christian and an observant convert to Judaism at some point. Meanwhile, John the apostle was close to well known Christians like Papias and Polycarp who became Church leaders. And Paul respected James, Peter, and John as pillars of the Christian community in Paul's letters. Besides that, the 12 apostles were evangelizing the known world and helping set up churches. Yet the church that came out of their efforts in the 1st and 2nd century wasn't teaching Torah observance but a Pauline-style look at the Old Testament.
I agree. There was some tension, but I think it's easy to make too much of it (like Fr. Paul Tarazi does, for example). I don't see anything more than innuendo to suggest that either Paul or James (or Peter) thought of the other as anything close to as bad as a Gnostic or other heretic like Cerinthus or Hymenaeus. They probably just had a few spirited debates like any other Rabbis of the day would.

rakovsky said:
Besides that, already in about 70 AD there was the Council of Jamnia where the same rabbis who formalized the books of the Tanakh/Old Testament also placed a ban on Christianity, so there must have been a split between the Nazarenes and the rabbinical establishment already in the 1st century. Besides that, already in Matthew we see Jesus taking a critical stance to the pharisees and the standard observance of the Torah, like when he plucked grain on Sabbath or stopped an execution in John's gospel. The movie says that the MINIM means "Others" in Hebrew, and this is the name of the group cursed as "the Heretics" in the ancient Jewish synagogue reforms.
As I understand it, it's better read as the "school of thought of Jamnia" since it took place in several places over the whole span of the closing decades of the first century. It was the results of many different Rabbis and Pharisees trying to come to grips with the destruction of Jerusalem (perhaps with some of them helping to lay the groundwork for the 135 Bar Kochba Rebellion).

The minim thing sounds right.

rakovsky said:
The movie wants to say that Jewish Christians didn't accept Jesus' divinity and supernatural qualities, yet in the gospel of the Nazarenes or Ebionites, Jesus is given divine or supernatural attributes like when he had light coming out of his eyes in the Temple or in Gethsemane to stop his captors IIRC.
The idea that Judaism has always been completely impervious to anything like a plurality in God or an Incarnation seems like an anachronism to me (see all the weird stuff that goes on in the Pseudoepigrapha regarding "Metatron-Enoch," Moses getting to sit on the Throne of God, etc). Even if some Jewish Christians might have been timid regarding, eg. Logos Christology, that doesn't automatically mean that Jesus was "just a Prophet" or "just a great teacher" to them. Sounds to me more like modern secular liberals reading their biases into ancient history.

rakovsky said:
The movie also proposes that the Jewish Christians were in Capernaum's synagogues in the 5th century AD because one of its columns mentions names that could be found in the Christian NT, like John, Son of Zebediah, etc. (Compare with John the son of Zebedee).
Interesting. But are Zebedee and Zebediah actually cognates, or is that just a coincidence?

rakovsky said:
The narrator goes to a synagogue from about 300 AD in Tiberias. It has what looks like a mosaic of the Zodiac on its floor, as well as traditional Jewish symbols and pictures of pagan idols and maybe early Christian symbols. The narrator sees this as more evidence of Jewish Christians in synagogues. In the center of the Zodiac a picture looks like Sol Invictus, Helios, which the narrator says became Jesus resurrected for the Christians. In the picture, rays come out of his head and he has a halo. He says Roman emperors no longer wore a crown with rays once Christianity became legal. He says that this is a Christian symbol encrypted into the flooring because when the synagogue was built Christianity was still illegal. Do you agree with his view about this being a partly or fundamentally Christian synagogue?

Another drawing there on the floor is of an uncircumcised boy holding scales of justice. It looks like it is placed as one of the zodiac signs (It's probably Libra, the scales). He says that all the other signs of the Zodiac are fine except for 1. Aquarius standing next to the 2. fish, PISCES. He says that the word next to Aquarius is GLEE, meaning vessel in Hebrew, but that the words are written in reverse so that you need a mirror to read it, suggesting encoding. He refers to the story in the synoptics where Jesus says that the apostles should follow a man with a pitcher into the place where they will have the last supper. He says also that in PISCES' Zodiac symbol the G for the Hebrew word for fish is reversed, turning it into a symbol that looks like a Chevron. He suggests that it means that the viewer should flip everything - the viewer might think it's a pagan Zodiac but that the viewer should flip this idea and conclude that it's not pagan. Another archeologist whom he interviews named Motti doesn't believe that these are signs of Christian origins.

In the 1980's an archeologist named Dauphin found Christian-Jewish symbols in a village named Farj near the Golan that has early Byzantine ruins from c. 500 AD, such as a Menorah with a crossed bar in the middle making it look like a combination menorah and cross. The narrator finds a tree of life symbol on a door jam where in Judaism a mezuzah would be placed and he sees this use of the symbol as a sign of Jewish Christianity in the village.
Well, given that there are Crypto-Christian Muslims, etc. even today, it's certainly possible that there there were pseudo-Christian Jewish groups kicking around into the Early Middle Ages (though the expulsion after the Bar Kochba Rebellion probably would have made it a lot harder for them to survive). I think it's going to need a lot more than some Dan Brown-y readings of ambiguous architecture, though. And again, none of that is the same as "they didn't believe Jesus was God."
 

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Volnutt said:
How does he deal with the fact that the DSS have no mention of the celibacy that Philo and Josephus tell us were so important to the Essenes?
He doesn't.

rakovsky said:
The movie also proposes that the Jewish Christians were in Capernaum's synagogues in the 5th century AD because one of its columns mentions names that could be found in the Christian NT, like John, Son of Zebediah, etc. (Compare with John the son of Zebedee).
Interesting. But are Zebedee and Zebediah actually cognates, or is that just a coincidence?
Yes, they are cognates:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebedee

Well, given that there are Crypto-Christian Muslims, etc. even today, it's certainly possible that there there were pseudo-Christian Jewish groups kicking around into the Early Middle Ages (though the expulsion after the Bar Kochba Rebellion probably would have made it a lot harder for them to survive). I think it's going to need a lot more than some Dan Brown-y readings of ambiguous architecture, though. And again, none of that is the same as "they didn't believe Jesus was God."
LOL
 

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rakovsky said:
Volnutt said:
How does he deal with the fact that the DSS have no mention of the celibacy that Philo and Josephus tell us were so important to the Essenes?
He doesn't.

rakovsky said:
The movie also proposes that the Jewish Christians were in Capernaum's synagogues in the 5th century AD because one of its columns mentions names that could be found in the Christian NT, like John, Son of Zebediah, etc. (Compare with John the son of Zebedee).
Interesting. But are Zebedee and Zebediah actually cognates, or is that just a coincidence?
Yes, they are cognates:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebedee
Oh, ok. Thanks.
 

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I was looking for:
National Geographic | THE STORY BEHIND THE BIBLE | HD Full www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8VyRNztREA

But now the movie is missing since it's blocked on copyright grounds and I can't even find more information about it online elsewhere in order to get it at a library or buy it. The title must have been made up by the Youtube user. Too bad.  :( :-[ :-\ :'(
 

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In "How Should We Then Live: Episode 2", AKA "The Middle Ages", Frank Schaeffer says:
1. The early Christian church had turned away from the old Roman music because of its associations with the Roman social practices and the pagan religious rites. There were strong human elements in some of the music of the early church. [People dressed in robes singing]..."In excelsis De--"...

2. We can think of Ambrose of Milan in the 4th century who wrote hymns and taught his people to sing them. This was an innovation in his day.

3. Under Pope Gregory there was a change to the Gregorian chant. Impersonal, mystical, and otherworldly.
He just seems to be thinking up some descriptions. There are strong human elements in all three periods of Christian music. Writing hymns and teaching them to people was something done in all three periods. All three periods had mystical and otherworldly singing.

Next he says:
"In the early church, the authority rested on the Bible alone. But in the Middle ages there gradually became a change, with authority divided between the Bible and the Church". This is ridiculous to me while I am researching the early church in depth, because the canon wasn't even set until the 3rd to 4th centuries AD. The oldest list that comes to mind is the Muratorian fragment from 200 AD. In fact, before the setting of the canon there were differences in which books were considered sacred, and the authority did in fact rest on the church leaders such as the "bishops"("overseers") of the church.

 

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rakovsky said:
This is ridiculous to me while I am researching the early church in depth, because the canon wasn't even set until the 3rd to 4th centuries AD.
If you don't mind, what sources are you using? Primary texts? Excerpts on places like bible-researcher.com? Apologetic works? Popular works like those of Met. Kallistos?
 

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Asteriktos said:
If you don't mind, what sources are you using? Primary texts? Excerpts on places like bible-researcher.com? Apologetic works? Popular works like those of Met. Kallistos?
All of those would count.
Among primary texts, the latest books, like Revelation or John (with the addition of John 21), were written around the end of the 1st or beginning of the 2nd century AD. Therefore the canon as we know it would not be complete until then, and as such the Bible could not be the highest authority in the Church up to that period.

As for modern commentary, they say things like this:
The Emergence of the New Testament Canon

Marcion formulated part of the question in his attempt to determine a collection of authoritative books. His answer was very wrong, but he forced the church to consider the question of what books should be included in the canon as Marcion's was clearly too small. It left out too much of the Christian message.
...
St. Irenaeus, who was previously mentioned in connection with the Oral Gospel, produced the first known catholic canon. He was the first to adopt Marcion's notion of a new scripture. He used this idea to fight heresies, including Marcion's. He recognized the four gospel canon as an already established entity and championed it as "an indispensable and recognized collection against all deviations of heretics." Thus, sometime in the last half of the second century, the four church gospels began to be viewed as a single unit. ... St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-c. 215) made use of an open canon. He seemed "practically unconcerned about canonicity. To him, inspiration is what mattered."(29) In addition to books that did not make it into the final New Testament canon but which had local canonicity (Barnabas, Didache, I Clement, Revelation of Peter, the Shepherd, the Gospel according to the Hebrews), he also used the Gospel of the Egyptians, Preaching of Peter, Traditions of Matthias, Sibylline Oracles, and the Oral Gospel.
...
The Muratorian Canon written c. 200 by a private theologian states that the New Testament canon consists of the following:
http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/ntcanon_emergence.aspx
 

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rakovsky said:
In "How Should We Then Live: Episode 2", AKA "The Middle Ages", Frank Schaeffer says:
1. The early Christian church had turned away from the old Roman music because of its associations with the Roman social practices and the pagan religious rites. There were strong human elements in some of the music of the early church. [People dressed in robes singing]..."In excelsis De--"...

2. We can think of Ambrose of Milan in the 4th century who wrote hymns and taught his people to sing them. This was an innovation in his day.

3. Under Pope Gregory there was a change to the Gregorian chant. Impersonal, mystical, and otherworldly.
He just seems to be thinking up some descriptions. There are strong human elements in all three periods of Christian music. Writing hymns and teaching them to people was something done in all three periods. All three periods had mystical and otherworldly singing.

Next he says:
"In the early church, the authority rested on the Bible alone. But in the Middle ages there gradually became a change, with authority divided between the Bible and the Church". This is ridiculous to me while I am researching the early church in depth, because the canon wasn't even set until the 3rd to 4th centuries AD. The oldest list that comes to mind is the Muratorian fragment from 200 AD. In fact, before the setting of the canon there were differences in which books were considered sacred, and the authority did in fact rest on the church leaders such as the "bishops"("overseers") of the church.
Yeah, it seems like that all winds up implying that St. Basil was a heretic for upholding unwritten tradition (as well as St. Vincent of Lerins for not referring specifically to Scripture alone as the standard?).

Aside from the fact that neither of them are really medieval, unless you're playing super loose with your terms, I'd need to see some good argumentation that they were wrong.
 

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In the documentary on St. James in the "Apostles" series (Dir. Konstantin Golenchik), one scholar says that in the Epistle from St. James, the saint emphasizes that faith without works is dead. The scholar says that this is a polemic against Paul's emphasis. I see Paul and James' positions as easily reconcilable.

It also says that St James' liturgy is the basis for the liturgies of St Basil and St John Chrysostom that are used in all Orthodox churches. So the Roman Catholic mass doesn't come from St. James' liturgy but developed independently?
 

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rakovsky said:
In the documentary on St. James in the "Apostles" series (Dir. Konstantin Golenchik), one scholar says that in the Epistle from St. James, the saint emphasizes that faith without works is dead. The scholar says that this is a polemic against Paul's emphasis. I see Paul and James' positions as easily reconcilable.
Yeah, I don't really see it, either. It's only irreconcilable if you assume that Paul was an Antinomian, which he clearly wasn't (1 Cor. 6 and Galatians 5).

rakovsky said:
It also says that St James' liturgy is the basis for the liturgies of St Basil and St John Chrysostom that are used in all Orthodox churches. So the Roman Catholic mass doesn't come from St. James' liturgy but developed independently?
It's probably all from the same broad source. There's quite a bit of overlap between the Liturgy of St. James (and the Liturgy of St. Mark) and the Old Roman Rite, though the Old Roman is a lot shorter (the Tridentine Mass is a fusion of the Old Roman and the Gallican, IIRC).
 

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Volnutt said:
rakovsky said:
It also says that St James' liturgy is the basis for the liturgies of St Basil and St John Chrysostom that are used in all Orthodox churches. So the Roman Catholic mass doesn't come from St. James' liturgy but developed independently?
It's probably all from the same broad source.
Yeah: Jesus.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Volnutt said:
rakovsky said:
It also says that St James' liturgy is the basis for the liturgies of St Basil and St John Chrysostom that are used in all Orthodox churches. So the Roman Catholic mass doesn't come from St. James' liturgy but developed independently?
It's probably all from the same broad source.
Yeah: Jesus.
Natch. But I was just thinking in terms of the broad textual traditions, if that's even something that can be traced.
 

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In the History Channel episode Apocalypse in the series Decoding the Past, Professor David Barr says:
John refuses to follow his models [ie other apocalyptic literature] in some key areas... the final battle between good and evil never occurs... For John the battle is assembled and then declared to be over. I think that in John's mind the battle is already over because Jesus has declared victory by his death.
Do you agree with this description of the battle between Good and Evil in Revelation?

The movie also says that although the battle is fought at the plain of Har Mageddon, the battle strategically and in practice would be fought for the capture of Jerusalem. This brings to mind Zechariah 12:

8 In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. 9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
In this passage, the Lord is defending Jerusalem, but the mourning is compared to the mourning in the plain of Megiddo (like Armageddon), where Josiah was slain in battle and for whom the Book of Lamentations was written.

One question is whether the Battle of Armageddon is meant as a literal battle in Revelation, using modern tanks today or ancient Roman horses in the 2nd century AD. Or is it meant as a spiritual battle between angels and spiritual forces. Prof. Barr says that this is not meant as a literal vision of the End, but as a symbolic struggle between Good and Evil.
 

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In the Russian documentary on Luke (2014), Andrey Desnitsky says that the apostle himself must have been one of the two travelers on the road to Emmaus who saw Jesus, since the author only names one of the two travelers, and it was written as if by an eyewitness. What do you think?

It also says that there is a tradition that an ikon of the Theotokos in Moscow was drawn by Luke. And it says that scientists tested relics in Italy that tradition considers to be Luke's and they turned out to be from an elderly Syrian man (about 83-84 years old IIRC) who died from the flu.
 

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rakovsky said:
In the Russian documentary on Luke (2014), Andrey Desnitsky says that the apostle himself must have been one of the two travelers on the road to Emmaus who saw Jesus, since the author only names one of the two travelers, and it was written as if by an eyewitness. What do you think?
Probably, if circumstantial.

rakovsky said:
And it says that scientists tested relics in Italy that tradition considers to be Luke's and they turned out to be from an elderly Syrian man (about 83-84 years old IIRC) who died from the flu.
Tradition tells us that Luke was from Antioch, yep. Apparently the body is in Padua and the skull is in Prague. Dating narrowed it down to 416 BC-72 AD (which also fits interestingly with the idea that Luke-Acts was written before the destruction of the Temple in AD 70). I mean, you could likely never absolutely prove that it is Luke, but there's nothing concrete to say that it isn't him, either,

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/1360095/DNA-test-pinpoints-St-Luke-the-apostles-remains-to-Padua.html
 

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rakovsky said:
In the History Channel episode Apocalypse in the series Decoding the Past, Professor David Barr says:
John refuses to follow his models [ie other apocalyptic literature] in some key areas... the final battle between good and evil never occurs... For John the battle is assembled and then declared to be over. I think that in John's mind the battle is already over because Jesus has declared victory by his death.
Do you agree with this description of the battle between Good and Evil in Revelation?
For Armageddon itself, I suppose that works. Depends on how it connects with the description of the war in Heaven with a third of the stars falling, I guess, and to what extent Revelation treats these as the same protracted conflict.

rakovsky said:
The movie also says that although the battle is fought at the plain of Har Mageddon, the battle strategically and in practice would be fought for the capture of Jerusalem. This brings to mind Zechariah 12:

8 In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. 9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
In this passage, the Lord is defending Jerusalem, but the mourning is compared to the mourning in the plain of Megiddo (like Armageddon), where Josiah was slain in battle and for whom the Book of Lamentations was written.

One question is whether the Battle of Armageddon is meant as a literal battle in Revelation, using modern tanks today or ancient Roman horses in the 2nd century AD. Or is it meant as a spiritual battle between angels and spiritual forces. Prof. Barr says that this is not meant as a literal vision of the End, but as a symbolic struggle between Good and Evil.
My guess would be "all three, to one extent or another." Scripture has multiple meanings and applications. Doesn't guarantee that there will be a single future Armageddon, but I guess it can't be ruled out.
 

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In the Russian film on Matthew, Mathias, and Judas, Professor Gritz says that Judas' main sin was that he killed himself, not in that he betrayed Christ, because all the disciples abandoned Christ at His arrest and Peter denied knowing Jesus. Prof. Gritz quotes St. John Chrysostom to the effect that if Judas had confessed his own sin, he would have been reinstated as an apostle.
 

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rakovsky said:
In the Russian film on Matthew, Mathias, and Judas, Professor Gritz says that Judas' main sin was that he killed himself, not in that he betrayed Christ, because all the disciples abandoned Christ at His arrest and Peter denied knowing Jesus. Prof. Gritz quotes St. John Chrysostom to the effect that if Judas had confessed his own sin, he would have been reinstated as an apostle.
I don't doubt that Judas would have been forgiven if he repented but I have a hard time believing that Jesus is saying that suicide is a greater sin than crucifying Him:

John 19:10-11 said:
So Pilate said to Him, “Do You refuse to speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You and authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed Me over to you is guilty of greater sin.”
Also, the timelines of John and Matthew are hard to reconcile, but it seems like John has this conversation taking place before Judas could have gone and hung himself that next day, as Matthew says.
 

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In the Decoding the Past episode "The Anti-Christ", the narrator says that some Evangelicals see the creation of the Israeli state and mass immigration of Jews to Zion as a sign of the End Times and apocalyptic events of the Bible, such as Revelation.

1. Is this really the case, and if not, why?
Specifically rabbinical Jewish governments held power over Jerusalem in c. 70 AD (when the temple was destroyed), in c.135 AD (under Bar Kokhba who declared himself Messiah), in the 6th century AD when the Persians and their Jewish allies conquered Jerusalem, and now since 1948/1967 for the last 50 years. Yet we did not see the End of the World and Second Coming as the Evangelicals would expect it. Further, there were Christian states holding power over Jerusalem in Byzantine and Crusader times, and sometimes then there were sizable Jewish populations in Palestine, yet the End and the Second Coming didn't occur then either. So I think that having an Israeli State or aliyah doesn't mean that the End is happening.

Further, the interpretation that such prophecies that those Evangelicals take to be about Jewish rule would have in mind a nonChristian rabbinical state is also in question. Christian theology sees the Church as carrying on ancient Israel's spiritual legacy.

2. If the creation of the State and Aliyah are real End Times events, does this mean that we should support and advance those events as those Evangelicals do?
In the Evangelical scheme according to the movie, the antiChrist may be Jewish and the End Times and Second Coming will include Tribulations and destruction for the nonChristians. Wouldn't this kind of "support" for the SOI be in effect a setup knowingly directed at the state's and community's destruction?

3. How does Orthodoxy interpret the passages that Evangelicals use to see the creation of a specifically Jewish state to be apocalyptic?

Zechariah 12 says:

6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.

7 The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.

8 In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.

9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
I take this passage to be Messianic and apocalyptic, in part because the inhabitants of Jerusalem are looking at God, whom they pierced. The passage could mean that the inhabitants of Jerusalem at this point are Christians because they are mourning for the pierced one. Could this passage be speaking of the world's Christian nation, those with the spiritual legacy of ancient Israel, as being defended in Jerusalem from the foreign "nations", the pagans who are not Christian?

Otherwise, what does the passage refer to when it talks about Jerusalem's rulers consuming its neighbors and God destroying those nations who attack Jerusalem? Is this some event in the pre-Christian era, or is this a reference to God attacking a Jewish state's political opponents and military invaders?

St Cyril of Alexandria says that the rulers of Jerusalem in the passage are the holy apostles and rulers of the church. Their consuming of the neighbors is their spreading of the sacred word to them and warming them spiritually with divine fire. He gives as an analogy Jeremiah 1, which he sees as God's word consuming the prophet's audience:
9 Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
St Cyril points to Matthew 3 and Romans 12 as speaking of spiritual fire. He also cites Isaiah 6 and 47 as speaking of the firey coal on the prophet's mouth that helps spread God's word through the prophet Isaiah.

St Cyril sees this metaphorical interpretation as explaining how the rulers are "like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf".
SOURCE: Commentaries on the Holy Scriptures, http://bible.optina.ru/old:zah:12:06

St Jerome also equates Jerusalem in the passage with the church and finds in Numbers 20 where those who go by the left and right instead of the middle are those who sin by either indulgence in riches or else excessive restraint. He sees those on the right being those of whom it says in Ecclesiastes 7:
15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.

16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?
I take this to mean people who are judgmental and self-righteous.

The usual rabbinical reading of this passage sees this in terms of Jewish rulers in Jerusalem fighting their adversaries, although I suppose that even nonChristian Jewish thinkers could give this a metaphorical interpretation:
Jewish Eschatology

The house of David shall be as God (Zechariah 12:8)[8]
God will seek to destroy all the nations that go against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:9, Isaiah 60:12)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_eschatology
A marginal note of one ms. of the rabbinical targum to Zechariah 12 says:
    ...the Messiah son of Ephraim will go out to do battle with Gog, and Gog will slay him in front of Jerusalem. And they shall look to Me and inquire of Me why the nations pierced the Messiah son of Ephraim.
In the book "Why the End of the World is Not in Your Future", Gary DeMar relates Zechariah 6 and 9 to the Jewish attack on their Persian enemies in the time of Esther, and finds it as describing events that have happened in the past.

Verses in the Bible matching the combative ones in Zechariah 12:6 and 12:9 include:
like a firepot among pieces of wood: Isa 10:16,17 Ob 1:18 Rev 20:9
so they will consume: Zec 9:15 Ps 149:6-9 Isa 41:15,16 Da 2:34,35,44,45 Mic 4:13 5:5-8 Rev 19:19,20
on the right hand and on the left : Isa 9:20 54:3 2Co 6:7
I will set about to destroy: Zec 12:2 Isa 54:17 Hag 2:22
The documentary also interviews Dispensationalists who see Matthew 24 as using the image of the fig tree to describe the Jewish political community beginning to flourish and serve as a sign of the End Times:
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
I checked a few church commentaries on the Optina monastery website and they didn't equate the fig tree in this passage with the Jewish nation. They just saw the tree in the verse as a metaphor of how one knows that summer is coming, although one writer saw it as a metaphor for the Church and its successes.

Isn't the image of the fig tree in the gospels a reference to the Jewish political community, which did not accept Jesus as the Messiah when he came and hence was not found fruitful in the gospel stories in Matthew 21, Mark 11 and Luke 13?
The "Fig-tree" is a fit emblem of Israel. Its peculiarity is that the blossoms of the fruit appear before the leaves. Naturally, therefore, we should look for fruit on a tree in full leaf. This accounts for why Jesus cursed the Fig-tree that had on it nothing but leaves. Matt. 21:18-20. The presence of the leaves led Him to expect fruit, and when He found none He cursed the tree for its fruitlessness. Mark gives us another version of the incident. Mark 11:12-14.
...
In the Parable of the "Barren Fig-tree" (Luke 13:6-9) we have another picture of Israel. The "Fig-tree" is the Jewish nation. The "Fig-tree" was planted in a "Vineyard," which we have seen stands for the land of Palestine. The owner of the Vineyard and of the Fig-tree was God. He came in the person of His Son Jesus, and for three years of Jesus' ministry He had sought for fruit from the Jewish nation and found none.
https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/larkin/dt/29.cfm

Do Orthodox writers see the fig tree itself in Matthew 24:32 as having any meaning?


Luke 21 is another apocalyptic passage that some Dispensationalists take as referring to the times when the Jewish nation will have political rule over Jerusalem. Do you agree?:
23. How miserable those days will be for pregnant and nursing mothers. For there will be great distress upon the land and wrath against this people.
24. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations. And Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Seeing this verse as making Jewish political rule to be apocalyptic seems to run into the same problems that I listed at the beginning of this post: Such rule has existed several times already since Jesus made this prediction. Further, in Orthodox Christian theology, the Byzantines were not "trampling" Jerusalem as hostile forces. The "time of the gentiles" could be "fulfilled" once the Romans accepted the Christian and Israelite God.
 

Volnutt

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biro said:
Um, isn't that a TV show?  :eek:
Yeah, the title of this thread drifted a long time ago lol.
 
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