Mysticism Chapter 4 Judeo-Christianity (No. B7_4)
(Edition 1.0 19900806-20001231)
This chapter deals with the original Judeo-Christian system and the far reaching effects the Mystery and Sun Cults have had on Judeo-Christianity.
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Mysticism Chapter 4Judeo-Christianity
Original Judeo-Christian Concepts
Overview: How God is One
The Hebrew concept of God as a plural structure (termed Elohim in the Hebrew, or Theoi in the Greek), is derived from the logical necessity of the exclusion of polytheist forms. God is one because the Host of Heaven is united by the spirit as one within the will of the central entity that was the causal origin of the structure. This plurality is derived entirely from the central singular being, upon whom it is dependent for existence.
This entity is called in the Hebrew, Eloah or ha Elohim (i.e. the God). In the Greek NT He is Ho Theos, THE God. In John chapter 1 for example the accusative case Theon or ton Theon is used for this being. He is singular and eternal. He is understood in English as God the Father. He existed before time began, in his abiding perpetuity, as a singular entity in complete form, with all necessary attributes instantiated. That is, He did not create any of the attributes necessary to His deity, such as omniscience or omnipotence; they existed as part of His being.
The New Testament uses Greek Philosophical terms to explain the structure and to avoid confusion. Those terms will be used and explained. It should be remembered that the Hebrew apostles were explaining to a Greek educated multi-god or polytheist world, a Hebrew concept using Greek words, which had meanings quite different, in some cases, to that ascribed to the same words today.
By the power of His spirit (which emanates as a force, which is equated with a divine utterance and which may be termed in the Greek, Logon, in a general sense) God created according to His will (Rev 4:11). The primary creation was the central order of the host termed the Elohim. The Elohim were initiated from an emanation of the spirit that must have been simultaneous. The Elohim were of degree and rank as an order of spirit beings, who achieved their unity with Eloah from the emanation of the Logon; individual manifestations of which being referred to as the Logos or Logoi in plural form. The Logoi of God is the plural form used in both the LXX and the NT for the Oracles of God translating the Hebrew Dabar Yahovah or word of God as it applied to the Holy of Holies. (See Oracle of God and Oracles of God comparing the MT with the LXX: cf. Cox, The Oracles of God (No. 184), CCG). When used in reference to humans, the animist term pneuma was used which has proved to be slightly misleading in discussion of the structure.
The creation and movement of the Elohim commenced the concept of time. The subsequent acts of creation were left to subordinate entities. In the OT, the actions on behalf of the One True God, who is Father of all, were undertaken by subordinate entities. This view is consistent with ancient theology generally. The being who appeared to man in the OT was the Angel of YHVH, who was understood by the early Church as being Christ. In his preexistent form, he gave the law to Moses (cf. The Elect as Elohim (No. 1); The Angel of YHVH (No. 24); Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127); and The Pre-Existence of Jesus Christ (No. 243), CCG, 1994-2000). We know from the Bible texts, and from above that Christ was a creator. He therefore created in accordance with the will of God the Father and with knowledge proportional to his revelation of the plan. The Elohim created in accordance with the will of Eloah, but in fact had some autonomy in material structures within their commands. The Elohim are replicated beings as emanations of the force of Eloah. He was the central Elohim and the only entity who could be both Eloah and Elohim. Eloah anointed Elohim to their commands. The Elohim of Israel was anointed by his Elohim (who was Eloah) (Psalm 45:6-7; Heb 1:8-9).
The Elohim were called YHVH in the Hebrew (pronounced Yahovah), which is the name of the central entity termed Yahovah of Hosts. They were messengers of YHVH and so were referred to by the term 'Messenger' in both the Hebrew form 'malak', and the Greek form 'aggelos', from which the term angel is derived. The Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the Angel of YHVH (Gen. 48:15-16). The central entity we call God the Father was called 'YHVH of Hosts' (cf. Zechariah 2:5-13). He was the God of all Elohim (cf. also Cox, Psalm 8 (No. 14), CCG, 2000) and of the entity known as the Messiah. The term Messiah means anointed one. There is more than one anointed one within the Bible. The term Christ is a Greek form for anointed one. The Hebrews held at the time of Christ that the Messiah would be of two forms, the Messiah of Aaron and the Messiah of Israel. From the Dead Sea Scrolls it seems that they understood from this that the Messiah would first appear as the Messiah of Aaron. He would return as the King Messiah of Israel. There seems little doubt from the Damascus Rule (VII and the fragment from Cave IV) that they are one being and the King Messiah of Israel is preceded by a prophet according to the Community Rule IX (Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English Penguin, 2nd ed. 1985, pp. 48-49)
The central YHVH, or YHVH of Hosts is stated to be the God of the Messiah (from Micah 5:2-4). It is thus logically absurd to assert that the entity referred to as the Messiah is the same being as Eloah or Ho Theos, who is God the Father. They are one, in an extended sense, as are all the Elohim. To give the concept as a structure, the term Bene Elohim is used as 'Sons of God'. The angels and humans are both of the order of Sons of God. All entities are thus one as Elohim, but there are degrees and rank. The Elohim, Eloah, thus anointed Elohim to command orders of the host subordinate to him as Bene Elohim. Each in turn was subordinate to his Elohim or Theos. Elohim and Eloah (and Theos and Ho Theos) are both translated as God so the English conveys no concept of the original structure.
The Elohim ordained the law in the hands of a mediator (Gal. 3:19). The Elohim termed messengers had a power of creation as the creation was subject to law and Eloah does not create disembodied laws. In other words law and the objects regulated by that law are not separate. Law does not exist independent of the created; therefore these entities created (cf. Cox et al, The Law of God (No. L1) series, CCG, 1998)). Indeed, the entire structure of Genesis attests to creation by the Elohim. Some of the highest ranks of the Elohim rebelled under the covering Cherub called Azazel later known as Satan, from the verb to accuse. This being was termed the Light Bearer or Lucifer. He held the rank of ruler of this system. He was known by the rank of 'Morning Star' and he is mentioned in this context at Isaiah Chapter 14. Satan had access to the throne of God up until some period between the sequence in Job and the time of Christ. He was cast from heaven, according to Christ at Luke 10:18. Christ is to replace him as the new Morning Star, on his return as the Messiah of Israel to take over the Planet at the end of this age. Revelation deals with this event in sequence. It is specifically referred to from Revelation 20:4 ff.
The beings of the fallen host were referred to as elohim variously in the Old Testament. They seemed to have a concept attributed to them in the New Testament of a pseudologon or false logon as opposed to the logon or Spirit of God. The Covering Cherub who is Prince or Elohim of this world, was judged at the time of Christ, probably arising from his actions up to the temptation (John 16:11). The rest of the host have not been judged, but are reserved for judgement until the Day of the Lord, or the 'Great White Throne Judgment' of Revelation. From 1Corinthians 6:3 the elect or the saints will judge the fallen host (although some attempt to assert that the saints will, from this passage, have supremacy over the loyal host). Logically, it is difficult to see how they could come into judgment. Certainly the Bible holds that mankind is to be equal to angels as isaggelos (Luke 20:36) or, more correctly, as an order of angels, being their brethren (Rev. 12:10) and finally synonymous with them (at Rev. 21:17).
After the one thousand year reign of the Messiah, and the second resurrection and judgment, the entire host will go on to inherit the universe, which is referred to at Deuteronomy 4:19.
The host is to be one and God is to be all in all (1Cor. 15:28; Eph. 4:6). It is from the concept of the oneness and unity of God that each entity must exist among the Elohim or Theoi, as a single structure of being tied to his Elohim. Each Elohim is, in turn, then tied to their Central Elohim or Eloah. The members of the host are thus referred to as Bene Elohim or Sons of God. All are, however, part of the generic structure Elohim.
The entities which comprise the Godhead as Elohim are in fact thirty beings, consisting of Eloah and the four Seraphim, or living creatures, symbolised by the man, lion, bull and eagle headed creatures or cherubs. The Council of the Elders, the presbuteros, is the celestial council of the Elohim, numbering twenty-four, under the high priest, who is the Lamb or the Messiah. It was the Messiah that redeemed men to establish the heavenly rule on the earth (Rev.Ch.4).
The structure of the tabernacle was a deliberate reflection of the heavenly government of God. (cf. Cox, The Government of God (No. 174), CCG). The object of worship of the tabernacle was Eloah, or Elah (from Young's Concordance). There was a high priest and twenty-four divisional high priests, making twenty-five in all. The tribes were divided into four groups of three tribes, always in the same locations in the north, south-east and west (see Numbers esp.Ch.10). The distribution of the tribes seems to change after the return of the Messiah (from Ezekiel). The tabernacle showed two cherubs. It thus appears that the twenty-four cherubs were divided on the basis of two to a unit, making twelve units as a complete system. Thus, the twelve tribes may literally represent the twelve celestial systems of the host. Each system is then one of four groups of three. The payment of the thirty pieces of silver for the betrayal of Christ seems to be related to the concept of the matter being an offence against the entire Godhead. The concept of the third of the host rebelling would have made a serious division in the unity of the host, and may have involved the split of up to a dozen Elohim from the Council of the Elders. The appearance of Moses and Elijah being with Christ (Mark 9:4) may reflect the concept of their appointment as the new cherubs of this structure. Thus the reflection of the replacement of the host is apparent.
Each of the systems of the priesthood seems to reflect the heavenly structure. The destiny of man to achieve immortality within a structure can only be monotheist, if the entities derive their existence and status from a unity with God as Elohim. They are one in the same way that the current Elohim are one. Hence, Christ's statement at John 17:21-22 that shows that mankind will be one with God, as Christ was one with God. It is logically impossible to establish a unified structure (where God is one and all in all) when the host exists independently in will and being, not deriving their unity from the very nature and Spirit of God. The concept that Christ was one of three elements of the Godhead (even if the third element is reduced to a force as spirit and the Father and Son are asserted to be a Bi-deity) is a polytheist form, which rests on assertions of dualism in the deity and is logically Trinitarian within the current meaning of that term. It is philosophically absurd. Unfortunately, people are so indoctrinated that they think within this structure, and think it impious to reject its premises. Quite simply, Christ is not the only entity to exist as an Elohim as one with Eloah. All of the Host necessarily must derive their positions within this structure in this manner. In this way we are also co-heirs with Christ.
The Athanasian understanding of the Godhead as only two beings from which a spirit emanates is incorrect, and limits the potential of the human replacement of the fallen host. The Trinitarian position is reliant on the doctrine of an immortal soul to achieve immortality, and this structure is logically polytheist. God can only be one if the host derives its existence as nominal gods, from a unity of essence and will that derives from and accords with the will of Eloah. To assert that Christ is one God with Eloah is logically wrong, except where Christ derives his unity as an Elohim in the same way that other entities derive, or are to derive their nature as part of the Elohim. The assertion that there are only three aspects to the Godhead precludes mankind from reaching his full potential. It is logically divisive and polytheist. It can only be a doctrine of demons (cf. Cox, Love and the Structure of the Law (No. 200); Cox, Creation: From Anthropomorphic Theology to Theomorphic Anthropology (No. B5), CCG, 2000).
The Godhead as Eloah, The Elohim, Morning Stars and the Sons of God
It is the concept of the ordination of the law as given by The God of the Hebrews and the comment of Paul at Galatians 3:19-20 that the law was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator, which shows a basic conceptual difficulty. We have seen (Cox, B5) that God cannot create disembodied laws, so that the ordaining of law entails spiritual or material control and implies creativity. But the ordination or creation of the law was by angels, necessitating that they must have possessed a delegation of power consequent to the nature of God, which they possessed and which was directed to the material creation. This delegation being logically prior to the creation, the Mediator (or Intermediary) was thus also creator. The law was therefore placed in the hand of the Mediator, to enable the creation in accordance with the plan of the Eloah. This point was understood by ancient Judaism and is seemingly avoided by modern Judaism.
The RSV says at verse 20: now an intermediary implies more than one; but God is one. The plurality of the Sons of God is seen by Paul as a multiplicity united in one as God. This plurality and union has been the subject of confusion in the early Christian Church, because of the complete misunderstanding of the nature of the Godhead due to the Chaldean Triune System, which limited the Godhead to three elements. It attempted to inflict its conceptual limitations on the biblical schema, and succeeded (cf. Cox, God Revealed Chapter 1 - Ancient Monotheism (No. G1), CCG).
The Elohim as a Plurality
The Angel of YHVH, or Yahovah, is part of that plurality of elohim. This is reflected in the statement at Psalm 82:1 (RSV):
"God (Elohim) has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the Gods (Elohim) he holds judgement,"
and at verse 6 it is written:
"I said: ‘You are Gods (Elohim), sons of the Most High all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like men and fall like any prince.’"
Christ says at John10:34-36 of this passage:
"Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, You are Gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, you are blaspheming because I said I am the Son of God."
The Elohim is thus not Father and Son, not a trinity, but a council of entities possessing the nature of God the Father and in total union with Him, and from which the law emanates through a mediator. The use of Greek here in the New Testament is interesting in that the word used is Theos or God, and is here obviously plural, from the Elohim of Psalm 82:1 and the usage. From John 1:18, Theos is distinctly subordinate; The God being (Ho Theos) whom no man has seen. The Elohim of this planet is anointed by God, as God, possessing the fullness of the Godhead. Psalm 45:6-7 (RSV) states:
Your divine throne [or your throne is a throne of God: see note h] endures for ever and ever,
Your royal sceptre is a sceptre of equity,
You love righteousness and hate wickedness,
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
This entity, or Elohim was identified in Hebrews 1:8-9 where the word fellows is translated comrades. At Hebrews 1:10, the Son is identified as founder of the earth and the (its) heavens in the beginning. From Hebrews 1:11-12, this entity will roll them up and change them as they grow old, but the entity itself is eternal and changeless.
Hebrews seems to make a conceptual distinction between the ministering spirits and the concept of the Sons of God. The comment "Thou art my son, Today I have begotten thee" from Psalm 2:7, and that of Elohim to David concerning Solomon (at 2Samuel 7:14), "I will be to him a father and he shall be to me a son," was to isolate the destiny of the elect as the Sons of God. Hebrews 1:6 says "But when he again brings the firstborn into the world, he says "Let all the Angels of God worship him;’" however, this is a translation error from Psalm 97:7 which says "worship him all you Gods" where Gods is translated from Elohim. The Elohim here are referred to as Angels of the Host, as in Psalm 8 (Cox ibid, No. 14). The other reference to this quote is at Deuteronomy 32:43 where the word servant is used and the concept appears to have been developed in the Septuagint version. The Angels, at Hebrews 1:7, are those at Psalm 104:4 referred to by the common term Malak, which is the same as that used for the Angel of Redemption at Genesis 48:16, who is identified here as the Elohim, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. All of these words are translated as angels from the Greek word ‘aggelos, a messenger, hence an angel. The difficulty lies in the paucity of words in the Greek to carry a number of meanings. That there are degrees of messengers seems beyond dispute. That the Angel of Redemption, one of the Elohim, gained preeminence from the incarnation seems inescapable from the passage at Hebrews.
However, this does not obscure or lessen the earlier structure of the order of the creation and the powers of the Host. Hebrews 1:2 states that the incarnation is appointed heir of all things and was the mediator through whom God made the worlds, although the word here should be ages, not worlds. The passage is probably a reference to the Mithraic teaching of the Aion as the "sap of life", hence a lifespan or epoch as the Greek word aion is used and in the Jewish sense means a messianic period (see Strong’s Concordance).
It appears that the concept of age may also be related to the periods and duration of transit of the sun. The current age perhaps involves the transit of east to west, and Psalm 82:5 says "all the foundations of the earth are unstable." (KJV). Aion here is wrongly translated as worlds, but appears more correctly at other passages. A statue of the lion-headed aion is in the Vatican museum. (A photo and notations occur in Francis Huxley’s The Dragon: Nature of Spirit, Spirit of Nature, Collier, New York, 1979, pp.90-91.) Isaiah 24:1-6 shows that the earth is turned upside down (KJV), which has been rendered in later works as "its surface twisted". This change of the age by reversing the world and hence the transit of the sun, may be of great significance in the control of the planet. The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, (M.A.Knibb, Oxford Clarendon, 1982) provides useful understanding of the view of the events leading up to the flood, as seen through the eyes of the ancients up to the beginning of the current era.
This concept of the mediator as creator is sometimes confused, because the illusion has been created that God the Father, or Eloah, was He who spoke to the prophets. The problem occurs because of the conceptual distinction of the Logos, not yet made flesh in unity with the Godhead, and the post-incarnation references to the Son as distinct from that facet of the Elohim called the Logos (translated as the Word). This concept of the Elohim is the biggest single problem the Christian Church has faced, and it is not correctly understood even today.
The concept of the Morning Star is found in a number of books of the Bible and elsewhere in ancient cosmology. From the book of Revelation, the concept of the Dawn or Morning Star from proinos or orthrinos (also relating to the dawn and as an epithet of Venus) is applied specifically at Revelation 22:16 to Jesus Christ. The Morning Star is obviously a rank of rulership over the nations of the planet as at Revelation 2:26-28. Christ promises those of the Thyatiran Church who overcome that he will give them the Morning Star. They will be given power over the nations, and they will rule with a rod of iron as Christ himself received power from his Father. Peter also referred to this aspect of Christ at 2Peter 1:16-19, where the Morning Star (RSV) or Day Star (Moffatt) rises in the hearts of the elect.
The concept of the Morning Star has created some confusion as, being a rank, it is applied to the spiritual and effective ruler of the planet. The rank has thus been held by Satan, as the Morning Star, or god of this planet, until the coming Messianic age. Satan is referred to at Isaiah 14:12-15 (RSV) thus:
How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star; Son of Dawn!
How you are cut to the ground, You who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven;
Above the stars of God I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will make myself like the Most High!’
But you are brought down to sheol, to the depths of the pit.
The word for dawn here is schachar as early light or morning and is translated as such by NKJV, etc. The NKJV translates the light bearer, (the Day Star above) as the Lucifer or light bearer.
This section portrays the rebellion in the heavens and is referred to by Christ in this context at Luke 10:18 where he says: "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." From Revelation, the rebellion involved one third of the host of heaven, here mentioned as stars. From Revelation 12:7-9 we see:
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon: and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth and his angels were cast out with him.
It should be noted that the term Satan is derived from the Hebrew verb to accuse (the radical STN), hence accuser of the brethren.
The concept of the morning star being held in the mouth of the dragon is found in the Sanskrit. Huxley notes that the dragon was known, in its early undifferentiated state of both being and non-being, as Tad Ekam or "That One." The sun is thus the dragon child and subsequently the dragon slayer. Symbolised as the Garuda, it was the intermediary with the heavens (ibid., p66). Prior to this war and the fall from heaven, Satan was allowed access to the throne of God. The book of Job shows that the Bene Elohim, or the Sons of God, presented themselves before the Eternal and that Satan came with them (Job 1:6). From verse 7, we see that at that time he also had freedom or dominion over the earth, as he had at the time of Christ and, from Revelation, still does until the return of the Messiah, as the new Morning Star, or planetary ruler. There were however, more than two entities who carried this epithet. From Job 38:4, we know that at the creation of the planet the Morning Stars were gathered and sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy.
Now this situation has two very serious implications by logical extension.
Firstly: being the rank of a planetary ruler and from Isaiah 14, at that stage being allocated to Satan, it is obvious that there were other Morning Stars, entailing the existence of other planetary systems and the inclusion with, but distinction from the Sons of God, equally implies that the extended systems were of degree and rank.
Secondly: this assertion carries with it, the implication that the extension of the spirit of God was relative. We have seen the distinction of Eloah as the singular God or God the Father and the extended God or Elohim, which were a plurality as a Council of Gods. These appear to equate to the Morning Stars. The Bene Elohim or Sons of God are subordinate.
We may now raise some questions about the assertions of Monism from the very beginning, with that of Parmenides, where there can not be more nor less of the one and it is, as James would have it, "of next to next nothingness." Clearly the concept here embraced is of a multiplicity of spiritual entities, with trans-material capacity in union by extension of the spirit as the Elohim. From the example of Christ, here it is a union with the Eloah as a unified body, and for whom the intermediary Elohim speaks. The Elohim have a metaphysical, or spiritual, union and communication which to date has been improperly understood. It is from this union that God is One. Temporarily God is not "all in all". This situation occurred because of the rebellion and will be corrected with the advent of the new Morning Star, The Messiah.
The term "Sons of God" is, from the above, an order of beings, a rank, who are adherents of the Most High in some form of spiritual union. These Sons of the Most High God are all Elohim (from Psalm 82:1) in varying degrees. The Council of the Elohim is the council of judgment, and the Elohim, or new Morning Star of the planet Earth, has taken his place among the Elohim. The council appears, therefore, to be the council of planet or system commanders termed Morning Stars. The Morning Stars appear to be allotted duties as cherubs. Prior to his fall, the current Morning Star, Azazel or Lucifer was one of the covering cherubs. It appears from 2Samuel 22:11, Psalm 18:10 and Ezekiel chapters 1, 9 and 10 that the Eternal rides on four cherubs. The concept of having planetary commanders as space transporters is interesting to say the least. The concept is therefore probably allegorical, indicating vested authority. The Angel of Redemption carried also the name of the Eternal, as El and Elohim and was called Yahovah as distinct from Yahovah of Hosts or Eloah. This pre-Cartesian concept is perhaps most confusing to non-Hebrew thinkers. By carrying the names of God, the HaShem, the entity also carried the authority. This is the primary attribute of the Messiah (cf. Cox, How God Became a Family (No. 187), CCG).
After the concept of the fall of man, where men had attained knowledge of good and evil, the Elohim said "behold, man is become as one of us, knowing good from evil." Here, the Elohim has been translated as the Lord God, and these forms are clearly wrong. The base problem is that the texts have been translated by scholars steeped in Athanasian and Chaldean theology, and they have consistently obscured the metaphysical structure by misconceptions and erroneous renderings. God, as a term is from the Anglo Saxon "good" and is singular only in the sense of the centrality of ultimate good. The Elohim placed cherubim east of the Garden from this time, to prevent man from eating of the tree of life and obtaining eternal life. Man therefore does not have eternal spiritual life. Man was created in the image of the Elohim by the Elohim from matter, and man is therefore not a spirit. Throughout the creation story, the creation is by the Elohim, speaking in the plural. Only at Genesis 6:5 is YHVH mentioned (conveying the singular) as observing the wickedness of man.
The cherubs (Heb. cherubim) were allotted tasks from the council around the throne of God and we know from the biblical representation that there were at least two covering cherubim, and probably four as we see from Ezekiel. These figures had composite symbolism and where this composite symbolism is differentiated, they are noted as seraphim with 6 wings (Isaiah 6:2,6). These creatures wait on the throne of God (the Eloah), or Ancient of Days who "created all things and by your will they exist and were created" (Rev. 4:11). The Ancient of Days is the creator, and the Elohim, from this, created at the will of the Eloah (or Eternal) and in accordance with His design. We will not speculate here on the role of the ministering seraphim, nor on the corporate nature of the symbolism of the cherubim.
The term in Revelation chapters 4 and 5 referring to the twenty-four elders is presbuteros, which means senior or old, and according to Strong’s Concordance, is used for a figure of the celestial council (see Greek Dictionary, p.60). This is the divine council of the Elohim. Christ is praised by them because he has redeemed men from the nations to God by the sacrifice of the Lamb, to be made kings and priests to their God, Theos the Almighty, the Ho Theos or the accusative ton Theon of John 1:1, 18, to reign on the earth. Both here and above, the term for God is in a distributive sense and may be singular or plural. The definite article renders it singular and refers to The God i.e. The Father. If singular, with the additional term, the Almighty, it would again mean the Most High God, (i.e. The God.) The term Theos can be thus hierarchical as is Elohim with the Highest Elohim, or Theos as Eloah or Ho Theos (accus. ton Theon of John 1:1,18). Because of its implications, this verse is blatantly mistranslated in some Bibles, (e.g. Knox, KJV, NKJV). It is almost as correct as English will allow in the RSV, NIV, New English, Jerusalem and Moffatt versions. The American Standard Version Committee corrected the KJV translation error in its version of 1901. See also at Hort, On the Words Monogenese Theos in Scripture and Tradition (B4), in Two Dissertations, UK, 1876, republished CCG, 2004.
From Revelation 21, the centre of government is to move to the earth (cf. Cox, The City of God (No. 180), CCG). When the cherubim appear, they carry the Glory of YHVH and His brightness, and the sound of their wings is as the voice of the El and the Glory of the Elohim is above them. From Ezekiel 10:20, they support the Elohim, and it was the Elohim that he saw by the river Chebar. The spirit speaks from them. Ezekiel states that the spirit of Yahovah spoke to him giving a message from Adonai, here used in the sense of "my Lord." Yahovah is the spokesman or mediation of the Elohim, symbolically supported by the cherubim as part of the force of the Elohim. Yahovah (from Ezekiel 11) appoints himself as the Elohim of Israel, and at verse 7:21, curiously refers to Yahovah the Eternal in the deferential form of address used by subordinates; for example, by Abraham, when referring to him, i.e. as Yahovah. The use of Adonai and Yahovah here as a deferential, shows that we are being addressed by the Angel of Yahovah and not the Eternal or Eloah. In other words by the Elohim mediator, who bears his name as Yahovah. This concept is most important as the metaphysics depend on it, as does an understanding of the nature of the Godhead, the sequence of the creation and an adequate explanation of its purpose. This term Yahovah was applied to three different beings at the same time in the actions of Abraham and Lot at Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham addressed them as Yahovah. Lot also addressed the two lesser deities as Yahovah (Gen. 19:18), and they called down fire on Sodom from Yahovah in Heaven (Gen. 19:24).
The distinction between the entities, which bear the Tetragrammaton YHVH is made explicitly by Micah 5:2-4:
But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting (or from ancient of days). Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth: then the residue of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand, and shall feed his flock in the strength of [Ya]hovah [YHVH], in the majesty of the name of [Ya]hovah his God: and they shall abide; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
Here, the Hebrew concept of the entity, which was held by Micah to have had pre-existence from "ancient of days": which, from above, logically was the beginning of time commencing with the creation of the Elohim. This entity carried the Tetragrammaton YHVH, yet Yahovah was also his God, reiterating the concept of "therefore Elohim your Elohim has anointed you." Conceptually the name carried the authority, hence the practice of calling magistrates "Elohim", which lingers today in the terminology "your worship."
There is a clear conceptual distinction between the Elohim Yahovah and Yahovah of Hosts. Zechariah 2:5-13 makes this distinction where Yahovah says he is coming to dwell in Jerusalem and that when this happens, "ye shall know that Yahovah of hosts hath sent me." This entity was clearly subordinate to Yahovah of Hosts, and the Yahovah here is that entity, at Psalm 18:28, who is "my rock." From Psalm 18:31 he is "our Elohim," and Eloah is the Yahovah, or YHVH of Hosts termed also Yahovih. Yahovah the Elohim of Israel is a separate and distinct entity to Yahovah of Hosts, the Eloah, or God the Father and Maker. The incarnation was held to be YHVH, and the Elohim of Israel, but subordinate to his Elohim, who was Eloah. Both entities were extant only from the creation of the Elohim, as separate entities: the Logos or the Divine Expression, an attribute of God, making or creating the replication of the Logos as the Elohim. The Elohim of this planet is the High Priest or Mediator.
From the Psalms, the Yahovah of Israel is a great king above all Elohim (Psalm 95:3), feared above all other Elohim (Psalm 95:4), and is the Elohim of Elohim (Psalm 136:2). The Elohim, therefore, have degrees of rank, some being subordinate to others and all subordinate to Eloah. The Elohim of Israel was that Rock who was Christ, but he was not and could not be Eloah or Yahovah of Hosts. All Elohim were once within the will of Eloah, but the rebel Elohim placed themselves outside of His will and the structure of the Elohim. They did, however, remain Elohim as fallen Elohim and are referred to as Elohim throughout the Old Testament. The fallen Elohim are differentiated from the graven images who "are no elohim" (2Kgs. 19:18, Jer. 2:11).
The correct pronunciation of Yahovah was deliberately obscured, and we have seen above that there was a deferential form used by the Angel of Yahovah, when referring to the highest Yahovah or Yahovah of Hosts. The deferential form was obtained by changing the last vowel from a to i. The reconstruction of the correct pronunciation of the term Yaho can be established from the forms used at the temple at Elephantine, where the form was shortened rather than altered. The translation of the Elephantine papyrus is contained in James B. Pritchard’s: The Ancient Near East, vol. 1, p.279. The name is rendered YAHO and the forms are thus Yahovah of Hosts or Yahovah (pronounced Yahowah as a quiescent w) or when using the deferential address it is Yahovih. The Jews pronounce SHD 3068 Yahovah as Adonai, and SHD 3069 Yahovih they render as elohim, to make clear distinction between the two entities.
Theologically the Elohim were a replication of the image of Eloah, as man was made in the image of the Elohim. Christ was "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." It is thus that the creation began with the Elohim in the Angel of Redemption and his colleagues, or comrades, from which times began. These concepts are dealt with below, and have affected the concepts and structure of causal explanation as they were imperfectly understood.
The Spirit of Man and the Angelic Order
Having looked at the structure of the Godhead, it is evident that it is one of a unified hierarchy of beings, from a central singularity within whose will the structure acts. When entities act contrary to the will of Eloah, they are decreed to be in rebellion and hence polytheist. Such entities are therefore to be destroyed, having limited existence and purpose. The requirement for these entities to be spiritual is dictated by logical procedure and physical limitation. The substructure of matter appears to be immaterial, thus supporting the notion of an immaterial intelligence regulating the material structure.
To decide the nature of the human being and his relationship to the immaterial or spiritual realm, it is necessary to examine what is known of the human entity; what is held to be its structure and purpose within revelation and what agreements and tensions exist between the philosophical considerations and revelation. It is also significant to examine whether the argument for the implausibility of the soul also shows the implausibility of a spiritual God.
Many philosophers want to reject the soul doctrine on rational grounds. Their position is not in conflict with revelation. Rather, it is logically correct and in fact in accordance with the entire sequence of revelation.
The arguments for the implausibility of the soul are determined by the requirements of an omniscient and omnipotent God. As examined in Cox, Creation (B5) etc., far from requiring the rejection of a spiritual God, rejection of the soul doctrine is required. Logically, an omnipotent and omniscient deity would not create a series of entities which were imperfect, in varying degrees of evil or rebellion against the law and will of God, and require a relatively more complicated ontology and destruction in the execution of the plan He had put in motion. A spiritual God would logically confine such an imperfect being to an easily disposable structure, which aptly suited a transient learning process, and which entailed no long-term cruelty or punishment for a weakness inherent in the system, as part of the teaching process.
The basis for the actions and happenings of the human entities are explicable only within one context. We have seen the early explanations of causation and human action based on Animism, and then from Platonism to the Cartesian Distinction, and why such explanation is false (cf. Cox, Creation: From Anthropomorphic Theology to Theomorphic Anthropology (No. B5), CCG 2000).
The distinction between voluntary or determined actions or happenings is complex. We should now start by examining the biblical explanation and the concept of man as the image of God.
The biblical account limits the application of the distinction between actions and happenings as voluntary acts or determined happenings, as outlined previously, to the rational process; the spirit of man is only an image of the Elohim and not an immortal spirit. The nephesh or spirit of man dies with the body. The doctrine of Heaven and Hell is a Gnostic doctrine which penetrated Christianity from the end of the first century to the middle of the second century. It resulted in the doctrine of the immortal soul in Christianity (cf. Cox, The Soul (No. 92); and, The Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143), CCG).
The Elohim said: "Let us make man in our image" (Gen. 1:26). So Elohim created man in his own image in the image of Elohim created he him (Gen. 1:27). It has been imagined that anthropomorphism is the concept here; however this may be metaphoric and far more involved. The Koran explicitly denies anthropomorphism and Moore refers to this controversy at The History of Religions, vol. 2, p.424.
Whilst the Bible uses distinctly anthropomorphic language in its depiction of a personal transcendent God, the concept here of the image of God may refer to the mechanics of the animating process, given the prohibitions of Exodus 20:4 and the spiritual nature of God (i.e. God is a spirit and the Father of spirits). The image of the Elohim may be the concept of the animating rationality, which motivates and binds the Elohim, allowing the implantation of the Spirit of God to attain unity and perfection as Sons of God.
The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (vol. 2, Abingdon, 1980, pp 682 et seq.) in its article Image of God states of the Old Testament reference, "The primary reference is to concrete resemblance but we must credit the writer with some intention as to abstract idea." It goes on to say that in the New Testament, "The image of God is something, which (in all but two cases), does not belong to man. It is identified with Christ, the image now being the perfect prototype. Through his relation to Christ the believer is transformed into the same image, the image now being the perfect reflection of the prototype."
At Genesis 1:26, image and likeness are used. But at Genesis 1:27, on the execution, only image is used. Genesis 5:1 uses likeness (which is sometimes regarded as a redactional gloss) and Genesis 9:6 uses image. According to the Interpreter’s Dictionary:
To complicate interpretation, the use of the particles which go with the nouns is not consistent (ibid. p 683). In (Genesis) 5:1 … likeness has the particle which goes with … image in 1:26-27, whereas in 5:3 the particles are reversed. This occurs as well as the words regarding the resemblance between Adam and Seth being interchanged, although in some 45 MSS the reading has been harmonious with 1:26.
Given that the use of the radical here image has a flexibility of meaning, if from the same root, then the concept might well refer not peculiarly to physical resemblance, but to the animating rational factor which activates the Elohim and the Sons of God. Xenophanes of Kolophon (Frag 17) supposed that cattle, lions and horses were they able, would make the gods in their own likeness. This would not be from a rational proposition, but rather from the view that they would feel distinctly more comfortable with them.
A spirit entity which is unseen and can materialise as a man (with his physical attributes) and as a snake, would not be logically limited in the forms of his materialisation; particularly if given that matter is made up of ultimate immaterial simples. It is the misapplication of this logic that lies beneath Babylonian and indeed all animism. The Bible is quite specific in the contention that all of the Elohim and Sons of God were able to materialise and take absolute human form. The Fallen Host appear to have possessed this capacity, and if they do not now have the capacity it can only be due to some further limitation placed upon them by Eloah and not fully explained.
Christ’s comment is that, in the resurrection, (the dead) neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven (see also Mark 12:25). In addition to this comment at Luke 20:35, in v.36, the resurrected accounted worthy to that world cannot die any more, for they are equal to Angels. The word for Angel here is isaggelos, which is a derivative of aggelos and isos, which means similar, of the kind or equal to, hence like or equal to (as an order of) angels. The assumption that the resurrected will be superior to the angelic is derived from the passage at 1Corinthians 6:3 where Paul says, "know ye not that we shall judge angels?" However, he refers to the fallen host here, which kept not their first estate, because of the rebellion. The premise appears to rest on the assumption that Christ was the first fruits of the elect, and he having been made a little lower than the angels by the incarnation, was then elevated above his comrades, implying that the elect shall also be so. But this may not follow at all, as the elect will be Sons of God which, as we have seen, is the general rank of the angelic order. It is more likely that the elect are the replacement of the lost Host. The ranks of the first resurrection are of precedence in the Elohim, and the elect of the first resurrection are teachers as kings and priests, for the general redemption of the world populace at the second resurrection.
Augustine of Hippo did not understand this point and in order to establish the Chaldean Soul Doctrine, he was forced to deny the millennial reign of Christ. He placed the first resurrection as that of the spirit on death and the second, as that of the physical body on the day of judgement. He saw the Chiliad as an error of the early church. He was absolutely incorrect in this position, and by his error seriously affected Christianity.
In the City of God, Book XXII Chapters 4 and 5, he asserts the ascension into heaven of Christ’s material body after the resurrection. The doctrine of the soul in the resurrection is outlined by him at Book XX Chapter 6 (quotes here are from the Bettenson translation, Penguin Books, 1987, pp.903-917f). By his error, he develops the concept that "any one who does not wish to be condemned in the second resurrection must rise up in the first" (p. 905). He holds that all who do not rise up in the first resurrection will suffer the second death. The soul doctrine led him to this error and the logical and non-biblical absurdities, which he develops from it. By his reasoning the entire pre-Christian and non-Christian (or indeed the non-Athanasian) world is condemned without knowledge. At chapter 7 (ibid., p.906), he shows a familiarity with the Millennial doctrine of the early church, but does not refute it, alleging it to be too long, and instead proceeds to an absurd position based on Chaldean theology and allegorisation of the specific words of the apostle John. The absurdity extends through chapters 7 and 8.
From chapter 9 he reduces the concept of the millennial rule to the period from Christ’s first coming (p 914). Such manipulation of the narrative is rendered necessary because of the absurdity of the soul doctrine, and of Trinitarianism generally. It has destroyed the metaphysical coherence of the Athanasian Church for sixteen hundred years, and is why, to this day Trinitarians confess the doctrine to be a "mystery", or more correctly a "strict mystery", in that it is inexplicable within any system of logic. Thus, there arises from the above a tension between philosophy and so-called Orthodox Christianity. Many philosophers want to reject the soul doctrine as incoherent, yet the Athanasian system insists on retention of the incoherence. However, when the original narrative is examined, a non-soul structure is evident which is at odds with the Athanasian system. This non-soul structure meets the philosopher’s criterion of coherency and is thus in harmony with the reasonable and logical expectations of philosophy. The tension is not therefore between revelation and philosophy, but between Athanasian Trinitarianism on the one hand, and both revelation and philosophy on the other. This matter has been explained in detail in the work Cox, Creation: ibid. (B5), CCG, 2000.
Original Millennial Doctrines
The origin of the introduction of incoherency into early church philosophy and doctrine is found at the end of the second and beginning of the third centuries.
The original millennial doctrines of the early church were given titles by later writers and Millennialism or Chiliasm (from chiliad, also a term for one thousand) came to be referred to as Premillennialism. The original doctrine of the millennial reign of Christ on earth was, however, more or less preserved by various early Christian writers, such as Apollinarius, Commodianus, Hippolytus, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Lactantius, Methodius (who saw the millennium as a day of judgement), Montanus, Nepos, pseudo-Barnabus, Tertullian, and Victorinus. The theory of the delayed 70th week, relating Daniel 9:25 to Christ, was first introduced by Hippolytus. The excesses of Lactantius’ teachings saw the term Chiliasm appropriated to them and Chiliasm regarded as aberrant. Some writings became rather carnal, with borrowings from non-biblical sources.
It was left to the Athanasians, however, to develop the soul doctrine fully and to refute the doctrine of the earthly reign from Jerusalem, teaching that millennialism was evidence of Etruscan and Persian influence on the early church. Origen and Dynonisius of Alexandria (d.265) opposed the excessive chiliastic millennialism, and as a result, the book of Revelation came to be omitted from the Canon by the Council of Laodicea (c.366).
Cyril of Jerusalem (d.368) and Gregory of Nazianius (d.389) exclude the Apocalypse or Revelation from their catalogues of New Testament books; John Chrysostom (d.407) nowhere quoted it. Athanasius did include it in his enumeration; the Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397) declared it Canonical (see details of the history in Bishop B. F. Westcott’s A General Survey of the History of Canon of the New Testament, 1875, chapter 20). The more concise story of the canon is given in the paper Cox, The Bible (No. 164), CCG.
On the re-introduction of Revelation to the Canon it became necessary to readjust its interpretation to accommodate the soul doctrine, since it is in this book, at chapter 20, that the one thousand year earthly reign of Christ, with two separate resurrections, is explicitly and unavoidably stated. Accordingly, it was left to Augustine to juxtapose Athanasian doctrine in order to accommodate this teaching on any even remotely coherent basis. His reconstruction, to this day, forms the basis of most Christian teaching and is responsible for the logical incoherence.
Augustine’s theory of the spiritualisation of the Millennium is based on the recapitulation theory propounded by Tichonius, holding that Revelation repeated itself under the symbols of the seven seals, trumpets and vials; a position which is absurd. The idea of the Millennium as being the earthly reign of the church was also introduced by Tichonius, and seems to have been used by Eusebius to persuade Constantine. The entire structure appears to have been constructed to appease Roman political vanity.
Jerome argued that the Millennium was heavenly, not earthly, and seems to have given Augustine the foundation he sought for the reconstruction. The concept has been carried on to the non-biblical conclusion that the eschatological rule of Christ in the last days is not earthly, but heavenly, and that Satan will roam a desolate earth for 1,000 years. This concept has no logical basis, impugning the omnipotence of God, and introduces the soul doctrine in another form to Christianity. A variant of this aberration is found in the rapture theory, which is contrary to biblical exposition and is logically flawed, as is evident from the development of this work. The nature of this problem is explained in the paper Cox, The Millennium and the Rapture (No. 95)).
The Logos and Creation
Will and Nature
"In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word [Logos] was with God and the Word was God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." (John 1:1-3)
He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him (Col. 1:15-16, NKJV).
It should be noted that John 1:1 has a problem in the translation. There are two words for God involved and a reversal. It is argued that the text should read: "In the beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with Theon and Theos was the Logos." To justify the reversal to "and the Logos was God," Alfred Marshall says in his RSV Interlinear (which accords with the Receptus) in the footnote, "But note that the subject has the article and the predicate has it not; hence translate ‘The Word was God’." To do so is a contrivance to establish the Trinitarian system. John was clearly referring to two separate entities, The God and an elohim who was the logos. These are referred to using the accusative and nominative distinctions as Theon and Theos, because at verse 18 he says:
God [Theon] no man has seen never; (the) only begotten [actually the only-born] God [Theos] the (one) being in the bosom of the Father, that one declared [?him].
Hort (ibid.), in the work On Monogenese Theos in Scripture and Tradition (B4) (republished CCG 2004) shows the correct term in the ancient texts was indeed monogenese theos or only born God. This work, published in 1876, has been studiously avoided by Trinitarians because of the implications.
To assert that the difference is only grammatical renders the structure incoherent and contrary to the Hebrew structure being explained. The addition of "him" in this passage is inappropriate as John appears to be using the concept well known to the Greeks of the "Ho Legon." He is identifying Christ as the "God who speaks." John is also clearly utilising the Old Testament concepts of the One God, Eloah, as the Theon and the subordinate elohim as theos. The Athanasians had to contrive this passage to support the Trinitarian doctrine, and ultimately the European Athanasians (possibly Erasmus) were to insert the false text into 1John 5:7 in the Textus Receptus, in order to rearrange the Christology.
John and Paul attribute the creation to the Logos. The concept here is Divine Expression. Further, 2Corinthians 4:4 identifies Christ as the Image of God. Revelation 4:11, however, states of God that:
You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.
The concept of Sabellianism, or Modalism, came into Christianity from the worship of the god Attis in the mystery cults. Attis was Father and Son as one God, being different aspects of the one being. This doctrine continued on, becoming the Binitarian structure, and finally the Trinity. By the Fourth Century, the priests of Attis were complaining that the Christian ministry at Rome had stolen all their doctrines.
The concept here has led the majority of Christian sects into error and precipitated the major dispute between the two factions, which were named for their spokesmen at the time of the outbreak of the controversy on a large scale in 318 CE. This dispute continued through the general disruption of Nicaea in 325, the further synod of Antioch in 341, and lastly at the Council of Constantinople in 381 where the Athanasians seized control assisted by the Spanish-born Theodosius. Thereafter the dispute was settled by force of arms between nations, ending in Spain in 586 and Thuringia in 742 CE with the conversions of Boniface. The two sides were the Athanasian faction, later to emerge as the Orthodox or Catholic faction; and the Arian or Eusebian faction, named also for their leading spokesmen. The disputes are covered in the section in Volume 2 of Mysticism and the paper on The Unitarian/Trinitarian Wars (No. 268), CCG 1999.
Christianity After the Edict of Toleration
After Constantine had issued the Edict of Toleration a number of major readjustments to the Christian churches occurred. Constantine convened Synods of the Church under his direction. The first was the Synod of Arles in 314 CE. To keep control of the armed forces now that he had publically stated the adoption of Christianity rather than the secret male Mithraism (which he, incidentally, still practised) the Council of Arles at Canon 3, introduced the ruling "concerning those who throw down their arms in time of peace we have decreed that they should be kept from Communion". This ruling was necessary to prevent the adoption of a pacifist position by the new Christians.
In addition to the problems regarding the use of armed force, which we examine in the paper Cox, Theory of the Just War (No. 110) CCG, 1995, there were problems regarding the existing pagan Roman systems. The worship of the god Attis in Rome, and from the Mystery Cults elsewhere with Adonis, Bacchus and the Orphic and Eleusynian Mysteries demanded the introduction of the festivals and forms of worship and theology of the Sun Cults.
The use of Stoic logic was also employed, and joined with Platonic forms to justify the constraints of logic on the structure of a Pantheon, which flowed from the requirement of the Mysteries. An examination of the Sorites premises and the criticism of the Stoic forms are contained in Cox, Creation ibid., (B5).
The introduction of the systems of Easter and then Christmas, and the worship on the Day of the Sun was a product of the Mysteries. Their impact and the wars they caused shall be examined later. The destruction of Judaism will also be explained later (cf. also Cox, The Origins of Christmas and Easter (No. 235), CCG).
What emerges in the examination of the Athanasian-Arian Dispute is that the church now comprised two factions who were bitterly opposed, engaged in political intrigue and persecuted each other. The Athanasians, being centred in Rome, were by their enlistment of the power of the Salien Franks, politically and militarily successful in the long run. Both sects had in fact denied their faith in the lust for power. The sequence of the struggle, and the movement of the tribes involved are important to an understanding of the nature and attitudes of the peoples involved.
We will go on to examine later the legacy of war that was to ensue from these disputes, and the false theology of the Athansaians, or Trinitarians as they came to be, from the Council of Constantinople in 381 CE.
War in Christianity
To understand the effect of the Mystery Cults on Christianity, we should look at what happened regarding Mithraism and the Roman Army.
War in Christianity came to be a significant factor, because of the gradual conversion of the soldiers and the importance of the army to the Roman system, especially as it emerged from Constantine. Pre Constantine Christianity did not bear arms as a state power (although there were Christians serving within the army) nor were its followers persecuted, by and large, within the sects. With State recognition, warfare became a major issue with both of the leading factions. The Unitarian Christians had always comprised part of the armies of the Unitarian tribes, and this fact is often overlooked.
Much has been written about the subject of military service, and the presence of Christians in the Army after the spread of the Gospel. The Athanasian Christian Church, which calls itself Catholic, embraces the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox communities. On the whole they are dependent on Just War Theory and a series of pronouncements from Constantine up to the promulgation of the Papal Bull, "Unam Sanctum", on 18 November 1302, for the authority to wage war. That is because they reject the authority of the OT structure over the church, and find little support from the NT.
The real objections to early Christian Military service stem from the system of the Roman Army itself, in addition to the biblical position on the matter.
The Roman Army
The Roman Army was an organisation that was not only an extension of the political power of the Republic, but also a total religious system. The religion was a form of Babylonian Sunworship established as a mystery cult, or as a form of Mysticism. This was in the secret form of Mithraism, which was centred on the god, Mithras, the Bull Slayer. Mithraism was essentially a private cult, although it had as its adherents, magistrates and emperors. The public form of this religion was that of Sol Invictus Elagabal or Elagabalism.
The manifestations of these cults are outlined by Samuele Bacchiocchi in From Sabbath to Sunday - A Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity, The Pontifical Grgorian University Press, Rome, 1977 (see esp.pp. 240-241).
This popular cult had grandiose temples. It was made the official cult of the whole Empire in the reign of the Emperor Elagabalus (218-222 CE), who derived his name from it (ibid., p. 241).
According to Plutarch (Vita Pompeii 24), Mithraism was introduced to Rome by Cicilian pirates taken captive by Pompey in BCE 67, and was particularly felt in the 1st century after Christ. These two forms of sunworship penetrated the whole Empire.
The secret, all male Mithraism penetrated the Army and totally controlled every thing it did, even down to the significance of the items of dress. It created a secret cosmos that controlled the entire life of the soldier, separating him from the civilian, and the Empire from the enemy and the concept of Chaos.
The structure provided models of how to be a good soldier and how to show respect to the gods and the Emperor. The worship of the Emperors as Sun Gods, stemmed from the Easter theology of the King-Sun, and was in the public and secret forms.
The religion also provided a host of abstract deities, such as Honus, Virtus, Pietus and Disciplina (Honour, Virtue, Piety and Discipline). These attitudes together were used as a control of the natural fear of death in the individual.
The rituals of the cult helped establish control, and assuaged guilt and anxiety, becoming a total living system for the individual with regular rituals ranging from semi annual renewals of the sacred oath, the "Sacramentum", to regular feasts occurring throughout the year at, approximately, 10 day intervals. Even the movements, strategy and tactics had religious significance. It was thus impossible for a Christian to be a member of the armed forces without engaging in idolatry.
There are records of military martyrs. It appears that these people were converts who were martyred for objections on religious grounds to military service. There is no accurate record of any martyrs prior to 295 CE.
According to the writer, Robert J Daly Sr., the records preserved of the later martyrs show that they did not give as a reason for refusing to serve, the fact that they would have to kill in battle. He says "The reasons are always in terms of a conscience conflict with army religion" (Studia Patristica XVIII, vol.1, p.4).
The five accounts, whose authenticity and pre Constantine dating appear to be accepted (by the Athanasians), are Maximillian the Recruit in 295, Marcellus the Centurion in 298, Dasius (303) and Typasius and Julius, both veterans also martyred in 303 CE.
This shows that it was impossible to remain in the army and remain a Christian. Some did, but invariably by syncretic adoption of the festivals and applying Christian names to them in some form of rationalisation. The army later became open to Christians and the customs were modifed accordingly (cf. the paper The Origin of Christmas and Easter (No. 235)).
The absence of the argument against killing in battle is not evidence of its approval, but there are some patristic writings on the subject, which demonstrate earlier attitudes against war.
The writer, Tertullian, was the son of a centurion in the proconsular service at Carthage. He was evidently an advocate in the law courts and was a pagan until middle life. Tertullian was converted to Christianity in about 197 CE and in his initial fervour wrote "The Apologetics" in 197, which was doctrinally unsound. He assumed in that writing that war was necessary (Apol.25.4). He decries the killing and destruction that accompanies it. It is from his writing that the presence of Christians is established in military camps and also fighting units (Apol. 37.3; 42.2-3, - see the legend of the Thundering Legions).
Tertullian clearly refuted this earlier writing, as in 206 CE he joined the Montanist Sect, and at about 211 CE, definitively separated any connection with the church as it operated from Rome. In that year, he wrote his treatise "On Idolatry", and in that Treatise stated;
There is no agreement between the divine and the human sacrament, the Standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot serve two masters - God and Caesar.
Tertullian's attempts to rationalise the function of power and military might with Christianity prompted his earlier writings, and the search for Christians in the armed forces is an example. It did not take him long to realise that those he thought were Christians were the syncretics. This prompted his Montanist aberration in 206 and led ultimately to his probably truer conversion in 211 CE.
The second reference to Christians and war is found in the writings of Origen, who was a pacifist idealist. He thought that war and violence would disappear as Christianity spread. He argues that Christians do not engage in war because they are all priests (Against Celcus 8.73). The Athanasian sect argues that from this argument Origen actually concedes the basic principles of Just War Theory.
He sees the task of the Christians as "wrestling in prayer to God on behalf of those who are fighting in a righteous cause, and for the King who reigns righteously, and that whatever is opposed to those who act righteously may be destroyed."
Contrary to Athanasian assertion, this does not corroborate Just War Theory, but demonstrates that Origen regarded all the elect as priests, that they were prevented from war, but were under the obligation to pray for the aid of a just king and his forces against that which was evil, even though they, as Christians, were prevented from warfare. Origen accepted the complaint of Celcus that Christians do not serve in the army. Clearly, this was the case, and that Tertullian's early observation on his conversion, contained in the Apologetics, only applied to the syncretists, a point that Tertullian later realised and Origen knew to be fact. However, the Bible does condone the use of force within nations and that cannot be avoided.
The writings of Eusebius are post Constantine and a form of Unitarian apologetics. The Ecclesiastical History is an attempt at pouring Roman facts into a Christian framework. The evidence appears to be that Eusebius was a later pragmatist who re-arranged the pre Constantine pacifism of the Christian church. The writings of pro-war Athanasian apologists on the works of Eusebius are attempts at finding in Arian apologetics, support for the Athanasian pro-war stance which both factions had adopted in the wars that followed the religious disputes of the Council of Nicaea.
Christianity has sought to grapple with this inconsistant philosophical position ever since. By this rationalisation it has sought to expand its ideology to the rest of the world, and to subdue its dissident internal minorities.
Roman and Persian Buffers
Christianity continued to spread in both Europe and Asia. In 395 the Roman Empire was divided into Western and Eastern halves under Arcadius and Honorius, the sons of the Emperor Theodosius (Glubb, A Short History of the Arab Peoples, p. 21). In 475, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and fell to the Unitarian (termed Arian) tribes. They were the so-called barbarians, who controlled most of Italy, Gaul, Spain and Britain (ibid.). The eastern half of the empire survived with its capital at Byzantium or Constantinople. Glubb considers that the eastern provinces of Greece, Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt had always been wealthier than Gaul, Spain and Britain, and the eastern, or Byzantine Empire was able to survive the loss of the west but were soon in difficulties with their military defence against Persia, having to defend itself alone (ibid.). The great Byzantine Emperor Justinian, reigning from 527-565 CE, attempted to reconquer the west. Under his famous general, Belisarius, North Africa and part of Italy were reconquered by Constantinople, but the effort required in achieving this weakened the Persian frontier. It must be remembered that the buffer between the Roman Empire and the Persians had been the Parthians, which were weakened after a battle with Rome, and then defeated by the Persians. They then moved into Europe as we will see in Mysticism, Volume 2. With his armies engaged in the west, Justinian was obliged to buy peace in the east by payment of indemnities and the surrender of cities to Persia. Schaff records that the teutonic Vandal kingdom of North Africa was destroyed by Justinian in 534 but "the Catholic Church never rose from its ruins, and the weak remnant was conquered by the sword of Islam (670)" (History of the Christian Church, vol. IV, p. 79). The Burgundians who had been converted to Catholicism in 517 were incorporated into the French Kingdom in the same year of 534.
Justinian established a code (527-534) which:
transmitted to the middle ages the legislative wisdom and experience of republican and imperial Rome with the humanizing improvements of Stoic philosophy and the Christian religion, but at the same time with penal laws against every departure from the orthodox Catholic creed, which was recognized and protected as the only religion of the state. (ibid., p. 388.)
Whilst the Justinian rule maintained its authority in the east, it was only partly preserved after the destruction of the western empire, among the Latin inhabitants of Italy, France, and Spain. This was in a compilation from the older Theodosian Code (429-438) which contained the post Constantinian laws with fragments from earlier collections (Schaff ibid). It would be quite wrong to assert that the Western Empire was re-established as the Holy Roman Empire under the reign of Justinian. The empire was established under Gregory the First in 590 and lasted until 1849-1850. (See M. Martin, Decline and Fall of the Roman Church for the sequence of events which ended the system.) Justinian did achieve some significant gains with Belisarius who later was badly treated, and on the death of Justinian the empire fell into confusion.
In 602, profiting by a mutiny in the Byzantine army, the King of Persia, Chosroes Parwiz, invaded Byzantine territory almost unopposed. In 613 he captured Damascus, in 614 Jerusalem, and in 616 his armies occupied both Egypt and Asia Minor. The Eastern Roman Empire seemed to be about to disappear as the Western had done in 475.
In this moment of crisis the Byzantine Empire was saved by the genius of the Emperor Heraclius, who in five years of brilliant fighting, defeated the Persians and drove them from Roman territory. In 628, Chosroes Parwiz was assassinated and the Persian Empire collapsed into anarchy. After twenty-six years of war, during which both empires had been reduced to bankruptcy and exhaustion, peace was concluded on the basis of the frontiers of 602. (Glubb, p. 23).
As we will see in the next chapter on Islam, the frontiers of Syria and Iraq had become Christian and the Syrian tribes were Christians. On the borders of Persia, the Nestorians had made many converts and there were Christian communities in the Yemen and Nejran (Glubb). There were also large numbers of people professing the Jewish faith, i.e. converted to Talmudic Judaism at Kheibar, Medina (then called Yathrib) and in the Yemen. Thus, while the nomadic tribes were all animists and shamanists, the "more civilised Arab communities along the fringes of the desert" had already been penetrated by Judaism and Christianity. This penetration was Unitarian, even though the later Judaism was completely apostate in its calendar and much of its doctrine.
Concepts of God and the Christian Factions Prior to 590 CE
The Roman and Athanasian faction had developed the Trinitarian position and the adoption of Easter over the Quartodecimal Passover. This commenced from as early as Anicetus and opposed by Polycarp, Apostle of John, and Polycrates, his successor, and Bishops of Smyrna) (see Cox, The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277) CCG 2000; and also in part Bacchiocchi loc. cit. pp. 198 ff., for the details). The Athanasian faction, only securely centred in Rome from 381 CE, was opposed in the east by the sects later known as Monophysite and Paulicians. They were erroneously referred to by some Athanasians as a Manichaean sect, and in the west by the Arian Christians.
These Unitarian wars in the West lasted until 586 CE when the major Arian conversion to Catholicism in Spain occurred, although the Suevi, who had come from East Germany to France and Spain were converted to Catholicism in 550 (according to Schaff, vol. IV p.79). The Unitarian system called Arianism did not cease on a national basis, however, until the conversion to Catholicism of the German Thuringians by Boniface in approximately 742 CE. They then progressively became absorbed by the Franks in the South and the Saxons in the North. (Articles - Thuringia (and Arianism) Catholic Encyclopedia (vols. 1) and 14 (p.712.))
The Christian church in the East, included one of the original churches founded by the apostles, that of John at Ephesus and Smyrna, and also later quasi-heretical offshoots, including the Nestorians and various elements which were later called Monophysite.
What should be borne in mind when reading the Koran is that we are talking about three separate Christianities, with two irreconcilable concepts of God. Monophysitism, however, had later heretical divergences from the original sect of the apostles. Monophysitism was both the doctrine of the Arians and also that of the Asians. Confusion over the concept of the nature of Christ caused by the Mysteries and Trinitarianism had also resulted in a division of the nature of Christ as both divine and man, based on the erroneous Chaldean doctrine of the soul (cf. Cox, The Soul (No. 92)).
This has resulted in the declaration of the divine or semidivine nature by Lucian of Antioch. Eudoxius of Constantinople (d.370 CE) acknowledged the Word made flesh but not become man. He held that He:
had assumed human soul but became flesh in order to manifest Himself to us as God through the flesh as through a curtain; it was therefore quite wrong to speak of two natures ..... Since the Word was not man in the full sense (…) but God in the flesh (…) ie. viewed as a whole one composite nature (E.R.E. Article Monophysitism - vol.8, p.811) (See also Arianism, vol. 1, pp. 775 ff).
Apollinarias of Laodicea expressed himself in similar terms, but directly contrary to Arianism.
He held that the perfect God had descended upon the earth, and in this belief, he felt that he was at one with the Athanasians (so-called Niceans) as opposed to the Arians. "But no less decisively he maintained also that two complete entities cannot become a unity." (E.R.E. ibid.)
His logic, however, involves a deification of the flesh and thus all his sufferings are in the flesh, brought into connection with the divine nature.
The problem was that the soul doctrine had penetrated Christianity with the Mysteries, and the understanding of the Firstfruits concept was lost, except in the more remote areas.
Antiochene Theology, and that of the Apollinarian School were in contradistinction, with the former adopting the view that a perfect humanity was retained along with perfect deity in Christ. Thus they spoke of two natures in the one Christ and, therefore, they also seemed to endanger the unity of His person.
This was attacked by Cyril of Alexandria, but only with the consequence of removing every element of human personality in the Saviour, denoting this divine-human nature with a formula borrowed from Apollinarias.
Eutyches, Archimandrite of a monastery near Constantinople developed the idea of His form, but rejected the notion that Christ's bodily form was identical with the human (E.R.E. ibid., p.812).
He was condemned at the local Synod of Constantinople (448 CE), and his error was labelled Docetism. (See also Doceticism E.R.E., vol.1, IV p.832 ff).
The errors of the soul doctrine were to compound the concepts from the logic of Cyril, to that of the divine human nature; where these two could be in communication in Christ, without forcing an assumption that there was a blending of the two. The subtle distinctions recorded, based on the logic of Cyril were similar to those used to establish the doctrine of the Trinity. The distinction between ousia and hypostasis became important in the doctrine of the Trinity, which served to make intelligible how three divine persons could participate equally in the divine being. (E.R.E Monophysitism, ibid., p. 812.) These problems were directly the result of the syncretic Chaldean adoptions. The intricate arguments were quite beyond the average man and completely unnecessary to the plain Bible theology.
After Cyril's death in 444 the Episcopal throne in Alexandria was occupied by Dioscurus, described as an ambitious man and one 'destitute of learning' [probably from Athanasian Polemics] (E.R.E. ibid). He attempted to secure the supremacy of the Alexandrian Church and Alexandrian theology over the East, having the ear of the emperor, and Rome did not contest his claims. He instigated a general Synod at Ephesus in 449, and with the assistance of Egyptian monks obtained control of the synod. He deposed Flavian of Constantinople, Domnus of Antioch and Theodoret of Cyrus and restored Eutyches. Leo I stigmatised the synod as the 'Robber Synod', but it should be remembered that the, by now, syncretic factions in Rome, Alexandria and Constantinople had adopted this form of force and persecution since Nicea in 325. Whenever the Athanasians gained control of a synod, they deposed and persecuted their opponents. This had therefore become common practice.
Dioscurus transferred the ecclesiastical centre from Constantinople to Alexandria. This caused a distinct reaction from Constantinople. The Emperor's sister, Pulcheria, a force in the administration, had recognised that loss of political control over the church would carry serious consequences. The Emperor died on 28 July 450 and she became Empress. With consent of her husband, the military commander Marcian, who had no interest in church affairs, she conspired with Leo to put an end to the theological dispute at a Great Assembly of the church and thus restore the balance of ecclesiastical power to the east (E.R.E. ibid., p.812). Thus the 5th Ecumenical Council held at Chalcedon in 451 CE was conceived, like all those held from the early part of the 4th century, for political ends.
Dioscurus was deposed and with the threat of force from the throne, similar to Nicea and Constantinople, a formulary was carried.
A majority of the members, with the utmost tenacity, rejected the demand that Leo's doctrinal letter be accorded the authority of a symbol. (E.R.E. ibid., p.813).
The formulary carried on 22 October 451 AD starts from a recognition of the Councils of Nicea (325), Constantinople (381) and Ephesus (431). It refers to the creed of the Council of Constantinople as the Nicean articles appear to have been lost, (the 20 canons were subsequently established). (See Catholic Encyclopedia article Nicea). It affirms that Cyril's letters to Nestorius and the Orientals, as well as Leo's epistle to Flavian have been adopted as attestations of the true faith.
The twenty-eighth canon of the Chalcedon Council was never formally acknowledged by Rome, as it accords equal primacy to Constantinople and divides ecclesiastical power on political bases. The fourth Lateran Council of Innocent III in 1215 did concede next rank to Constantinople, however (Schaff- History of the Christian Churches, vol. III, pp.279-283). The formulary proceeds to the confession of belief in Jesus Christ as perfect God and perfect man, consubstantial with us according to His humanity, in two natures (…not as in portions of the literary tradition), without confusion or change, without division or separation… (E.R.E. ibid.)).
A decree, promulgated (7th Feb 452) by the two Emperors Marcian and Valentius III, imposed severe penalties upon all who should henceforth dispute in public, regarding the faith. Offending clergy and army officers should be deprived, respectively, of their priestly and military status, and others proceeded against by law.
Dioscurus was exiled to Gangra in Paphlagonia, where he died in 454 CE. Juvenal Bishop of Jerusalem, had accepted the formula from fear of removal, but on return to Jerusalem he lost the confidence of his monks, who deposed him and elected Theodosius as bishop in opposition.
Peter the Iberian, monk and Bishop of Mayuma at Gaza, was the spiritual leader. The Empress-dowager, Eudocia, was resident in Jerusalem and patronised them. The revolt was suppressed temporarily by military measures in 453.
Anti Chalcedonian or Diphysite action in Egypt was violent. On the ascension of Leo I (457-474) Timotheus Aelurus (the weasel) (presumably named this by some charitable Athanasian) presbyter of Alexandria, was raised to Bishop by the populace, who murdered the Chalcedonian puppet Bishop Proterius, forcibly installed there by the government in place of Dioscurus. Timotheus purged the see of Athanasians, or Diphysites, and held his seat until 460 where he was deposed by fierce conflict. He was banished to Cherson, where he composed the 'Refutation of the Doctrine of the Synod of Chalcedon', the Armenian translation of which only came to light in 1908.
In Antioch, the chalcedonian presbyter, Petrus Fullo, was supplanted by Martyrius, who became Bishop until deposed by edict of the Emperor Leo in 471.
The aims at reconciling Constantinople with Rome, and maintaining peace whilst suppressing ecclesiastical dissent in the east proved impossible both in the reign of Zeno (474-491) and of Anastasius (491-496).
Zeno attempted to gain acceptance for a new formulary ‘The Henotikon’ in place of the Chalcedonian symbol. Acacius, the court- patriarch of Constantinople, and Petrus Mongus (the Stammerer) Bishop of Alexandria, tried to unify the church, but the Monophysites in Egypt severed themselves from even other monophysites. They were the core of the Coptic Church.
The refutation of Chalcedon resulted in the 35 years schism of 484, brought about by Felix III. This resulted in the customary anathemas and excommunications. The reconciliation with Rome was commenced on the ascension of Justin I (518-527). He was an Athanasian, or what we might term later, Orthodox. Under him a suppression of Monophysite sects was established. Justin I left the administration of affairs to his nephew, Justinian, and he commenced to accede to Rome's requests as a price for his political objectives. The Henotikon (482) of Justin's predecessor, Zeno, was let drop. A synod of forty bishops under John II, patriarch of Constantinople, was convened at Constantinople in order to proclaim a general acceptance of the decrees of Chalcedon throughout the Empire, and the restoration of Catholic and the deposition of Monophysite bishops. This Synod reopened negotiations with the Roman See after the schism of Acacius (484-519). The reigning Pope Hormisdas (514-525) composed his 'famous formula' and proclaimed the reunion symbolically on Easter day 24 March 519. Severus of Antioch and other Monophysite leaders fled to Egypt with the papal legates remaining at Constantinople until 520. In 520 the Patriarch John died and Epiphanius was elected as his successor. He was then given authority to reconcile all schismatics and Monophysites who retracted. Three converting bishops were restored to their Sees. These were Elias, Thomas and Nicostratus, (see Second Papal letter). Epiphanius mentions the extent of the Monophysite faith which, with the Paulicians obviously was the general faith throughout the east until this reconciliation mentioning the desire to restore many bishops from Pontus, Asia and the (civil) 'diocese' of the east. (See article "Epiphanius of Constantinople" in Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. V. p.504).
Some give the date of the Paulician establishment as the 7th century, i.e. from this schism, but it was in fact much earlier than this, and a derivation of the church at Smyrna. (See article 'Paulicians' E.R.E., vol. 9 and Cox, General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)).
The names of Acacius, Zeno and Anastasius were removed from the Diptychs of the church. These dispositions, however, did not stamp out the sects as the eastern provinces were under Persian dominion and Syria was virtually autonomous. The sects were not stamped out and in a last ditch effort to do so, the Prince of the Beni Ghassan was arrested and taken to Constantinople. This, however, left the province in open revolt and led to the Arab conquests, with the Monophysite fusions with Islam, or their protection with the Paulicians in Mesopotamia, until the reconquest by Constantine Capronymous (741-775) C 750 CE, (himself possibly a Paulician) whereupon the Paulicians as they were termed, were relocated to Thrace, where other non Athanasian sects had been earlier located.
We will see the effect of these actions on the Rise of Islam in the next chapter.
At this time, the recognition of the Roman chair as the supreme tribunal of the church, established for the first time Papal authority. Justinian persecuted the Monophysites, but this persecution he came to see as a great error. The actions which commenced with Epiphanius of Constantinople were to be counter productive, as, whilst they subjugated large areas of the church under the Athanasians, and allowed Justinian to concentrate on the defeat of the Unitarians in the west by the army under Belisarius, they did not reconcile the east. Following Justinian's death in 565 CE, under his successors, the Monophysites were harshly persecuted as the Monophysite, John of Ephesus records. They produced the conditions that gave rise to a disaffected Christianity in the East, which was not only Monophysite, but also much of it, non Trinitarian. Byzantium would not surrender the political alliance with Rome and the Eastern churches regarded Rome as apostate.
The excesses of the suppression of these Christians, and the conflict of the view of the manifestation of the Deity were to give rise to a vigorous monotheism. The final suppression of the Beni Ghassan Christians saw Syrian tribes in revolt. The leader of the Syrian Church after the banishment of Severus, Bishop of Antioch was Jacob Barada (d.578), ordained C.541 as Bishop of Edessa by Theodosius of Alexandria. The Syrian monophysites thus came to be called Jacobites.
These Monophysites became divided into the Syrian Jacobites, who extended finally into India. The Julianists or Gaianites seceded themselves from the Severians and Egypt. However, the entire Coptic Church is composed of these forms. The Armenian Church was also Monophysite, being forced to adopt the Henotikon of Zeno by the Persian Nestorians. (According to Mosheim's Institutes of Ecclesiastical History - Murdock tr. Tegg. London 1865, p.199 Nestorius and his sect were to inflict intolerant persecution. Although, historically, it appears to have been less successful than the Athanasians).
Only the Paulicians, transported to Thrace, firstly c750 CE and later by John Tzimiskes (970), remained non-Trinitarian Sabbath keepers. The Crusaders found them in Syria in the 11th century, and according to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, around Philippopolis in the 18th century.
A revulsion against a creed, which was so obviously tainted by the mystery cults and in disarray concerning its doctrine in relation to biblical teaching, created the requirement for a restatement of Monotheism. That was done by Mohammed, under conditions which were ideal, and created by Byzantine and Athanasian ambitions.
Christianity is thus of three separate theologies. One, syncretic Chaldean Diphysite Trinitarianism; one of Monophysite derivations from syncretic systems; and a third Unitarian sect called Paulicians. They were known variously as Albigenses, Waldenses, Lollards, Piphles and probably Publicani in Oxford (1160) and other titles such as Sabbatarians or Sabbatati etc. (cf. Cox, The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170) CCG, see E.R.E. Paulicians, vol. 9 p.697 for similar comments).
These divisions were affected by the Babylonian Mystery and Sun Cults and had a profound effect on Christianity. They had also over the same post Temple period terminally damaged Judaism as we saw in Chapter 1 above. We will see more of these aspects in Mysticism, Volume 2.