Blog

A Purely Biblical Approach to Sexual Sin

A sexual sin is a sexual sin. There are no varying degrees. Sexual sin is a sin against the body, the temple of the holy spirit. Adultery, masturbation, sex with animals, homosexuality, General sexual immorality… all were viewed as an abomination and worthy of death. But Christ, in his forgiving of the adulteress and in His refusal to judge the Samaritan woman, he who was WORTHY to judge nevertheless judged not. He forgave and told all that he forgave; “go, and sin no more.”. Who are we then, sinners one and all, to judge? Nevertheless, there are many incorrect suppositions flying about regarding what the Bible says about sexuality and marriage. So here is the basic rundown.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” – Genesis 1:27 

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24 

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” – Leviticus 18:22 

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” – Leviticus 20:13  

“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Matthew 19:4-6

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’  ‘For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,  and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” – Mark 10:6-9 

“But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” – I Corinthians 7:2 

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:31 

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” – Colossians 3:18-19 

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” – Hebrews 13:4 

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” – I Peter 3:7 

“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way, the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” – Romans 1:26-27 

“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach.” – I Timothy 3:2 

“Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” – I Timothy 3:12 

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.” – Titus 1:6

On the Intercession of the Saints

There is a constant uproar from the Protestant sector regarding the Catholic and the ancient practice of asking the saints for their prayers and their intercession. They insist that there is no Biblical evidence for what they consider to be “Praying TO the saints”. The power of life and of death is in the hands of God, yet, He relegates his authority to others that are living. Doctors are able to save lives. If I see someone drowning, I can jump in and save them. It doesn’t make God any less responsible, but the fact remains that the person was saved by a man (or woman). The view that Protestants present regarding what they perceive as problematic theology is a very narrow view, and places God into a box, and everyone else living or dead on the outside with no ability to touch the divine or to be instruments of the divine. It is not the practice of the Catholics to pray to Mary in the sense that Protestants perceive. If I ask you to pray for me to the Lord our God, I am not praying to you at all. I am asking you to intercede on my behalf, to beseech God for me. That doesn’t mean that I am worshiping you. And as Christ Himself said, He is the God of the living. The saints are alive and in His presence. Yet, they remain a very real part of the Church, of the Body of Christ. Thus, my asking Mary to pray for me the Lord our God is no different than my asking you to pray for me.

There is particularly a large outcry against the Catholic veneration of Mary. Catholic Christians do not “pray to” the Mother of God instead of God; we seek her intercession before her Son, asking her to pray on our behalf; another Byzantine Rite hymn states that “the prayers of a mother availeth much before her Son.” Catholics do NOT worship the Theotokos; they do venerate her exactly as the angel did. 

A sample prayer: 

“It is truly right to bless you, O Theotokos (God-Bearer), ever-blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word, True, Theotokos, we magnify you.” 

Her name is mentioned in every service, and her intercession before the throne of God is asked. She is given the title of “Theotokos” (Greek for “Birth-giver-of-God), as well as “Mother of God”. She has a definite role in Catholicism, and can in no way be considered an instrument which, once used, was laid aside and forgotten.

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to announce to the Virgin the birth of the Saviour: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.” (Luke 1:28) This angelic salutation forms a part of the hymn of the Church most frequently sung in her honor. Could we be wrong in repeating the words of the very messenger of God? Elizabeth, the Virgin’s cousin, considered it an honor for the Mother of her Lord to visit her. “And whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43) Is there any real difference between saying “Mother of God” and “Mother of the Lord”? Surely, God is the Lord! (Psalm 118:27) In the course of her visit to Elizabeth, the Blessed Virgin spoke the words that form the principal hymn sung in her honor at the Matins service.

The consequences of denying the Theotokos a part in the life of Christians are more serious than one may think in view of all its implications. Catholic theology insists upon the two perfect natures of our Lord Jesus Christ; He was perfect God and perfect Man. The Virgin Mary communicated the humanity of the Incarnate God. The redemption of the human race was possible through the union of God and man in Christ. De-emphasis of the sinlessness of Christ’s Mother, insistence upon her having other children by Joseph (which cannot be demonstrated by the New Testament), and failure to remember her part in the history of the salvation of mankind have contributed to a general misunderstanding in some churches of the Incarnation in all its fullness and power. Very closely related to the above-mentioned things is the denial of the virgin birth of Christ, a rather popular feature of present-day liberal theology. After the virgin birth, the next basic teaching under attack is the divinity of Christ and His resurrection, and with that, the Holy Trinity Itself.

The Virgin Mary in the Catholic view is not regarded as a mediatrix or co-redemptress. She is an intercessor for us, and the content of supplications addressed to her are merely requests for her intercession.

As to the general intercession of saints, there are multiple examples in the Holy Writ. Rachel was long dead (see Gen. 48:7) and departed from the earth during the Babylonian exile when Jeremiah wrote: “Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, [and] bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they [were] not. Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.” (Jeremiah 31:15-16). The Lord answered her prayer. Again when Herod slaughtered the innocents, Matthew tells us: “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping [for] her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not” (Matthew 2:18). 

In the story about Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16, Christ illustrates that even the rich man in hell showed concern for the people still living. How much more would those in heaven show concern. The saints are not dead; they are more alive than we are. The Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection. Jesus told them, “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.” (Luke 20:36-38).

In the book of Revelation we find the human saints (Rev.5:8) in heaven and the heavenly saints (Rev. 8:3-4) in heaven offering to God the prayers of those still on earth: “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” (Rev. 5:8) and “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” (Rev. 8:3-4).If we aren’t permitted to direct our prayers to them, where do they get our prayers? We know “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Those saints in heaven have already been made perfect (Heb.11:40, 12:23). 

On earth the saints continue to sin: “For a just [man] falleth seven times” (Proverbs 24:16). Sin affects the effectiveness of our prayers:“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]” (Psalm 66:18)and “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:22). We seek prayer partners in the presence of God who have ceased from all sin, along with prayer partners on earth. Paul tells us: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2). When we are looking to Jesus and have our eyes on Jesus we are surrounded by these saints in heaven. 

Furthermore, the Bible clearly commands us to follow the teachings passed down to us in word, in letter and by mouth ( 2 Thessalonians 2:15).It also says that all of the things that Jesus said and did could not be written down or they would fill the earth ( John 21:25 ). The Church fathers of the first and second centuries, those that physically walked with Christ taught us of the intercession of the saints. Thus, Biblically speaking, to not accept the teachings of the Church fathers is transgressing the command of Christ and the apostles. Because they did teach the intercession of the saints, I choose to believe them rather than a RECENT (1500’s) Protestant innovation or not. 

BIBLICAL AND PATRISTIC EVIDENCE

Book of Tobit (~ 200 – 100 BC)

When thou didst pray with tears… I [Archangel Raphael] offered thy prayer to the Lord.

Hermas (+80)

“[The Shepherd said:] ‘But those who are weak and slothful in prayer, hesitate to ask anything from the Lord; but the Lord is full of compassion, and gives without fail to all who ask him. But you, [Hermas,] having been strengthened by the holy angel [you saw], and having obtained from Him such intercession, and not being slothful, why do not you ask of the Lord understanding, and receive it from him?’” (The Shepherd 3:5:4).

St. John the Evangelist (+101)

And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.

Egyptian Liturgy for the Nativity of Christ (200s)

Beneath thy tenderness of heart we take refuge, O Theotokos, disdain not our supplications in our necessity, but deliver us from perils, O only pure and blessed one.

Clement of Alexandria (+208)

“In this way is he [the true Christian] always pure for prayer. He also prays in the society of angels, as being already of angelic rank, and he is never out of their holy keeping; and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him [in prayer]” (Miscellanies 7:12).

Origen(+233)

“But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels . . . as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep” (Prayer 11)

Cyprian of Carthage (+253)

“Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides [of death] always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy” (Letters 56[60]:5).

Methodius (+305)

“Hail to you forever, Virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for to you do I turn again. You are the beginning of our feast; you are its middle and end; the pearl of great price that belongs to the kingdom; the fat of every victim, the living altar of the Bread of Life [Jesus]. Hail, you treasure of the love of God. Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man.

. . . You gleamed, sweet gift-bestowing Mother, with the light of the sun; you gleamed with the insupportable fires of a most fervent charity, bringing forth in the end that which was conceived of you . . . making manifest the mystery hidden and unspeakable, the invisible Son of the Father—the Prince of Peace, who in a marvelous manner showed himself as less than all littleness” (Oration on Simeon and Anna 14).

“Therefore, we pray [ask] you, the most excellent among women, who glories in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate the memory, which will ever live, and never fade away” (ibid.).

“And you also, O honored and venerable Simeon, you earliest host of our holy religion, and teacher of the resurrection of the faithful do be our patron and advocate with that Savior God, whom you were deemed worthy to receive into your arms. We, together with you, sing our praises to Christ, who has the power of life and death, saying, ‘You are the true Light, proceeding from the true Light; the true God, begotten of the true God’” (ibid.).

Cyril of Jerusalem (+350)

“Then [during the Eucharistic prayer] we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition . . . ” (Catechetical Lectures 23:9).

Hilary of Poitiers (+365)

“To those who wish to stand [in God’s grace], neither the guardianship of saints nor the defenses of angels are wanting” (Commentary on the Psalms 124:5:6).

Ephraim the Syrian (+370)

“You victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Savior, you who have boldness of speech toward the Lord himself, you saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us so that we may love him” (Commentary on Mark).

“Remember me, you heirs of God, you brethren of Christ; supplicate the Savior earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day” (The Fear at the End of Life)

The Liturgy of St. Basil (A.D. 373)

“By the command of your only-begotten Son, we communicate with the memory of your saints . . . by whose prayers and supplications have mercy upon us all, and deliver us for the sake of your holy name” 

St. Ephraim the Syrian (+373)

Remember me, ye heirs of God, ye brethren of Christ, supplicate the Saviour earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day. Ye victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Saviour; ye who have boldness of speech towards the Lord Himself; ye saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us that so we may love him.

Gregory of Nyssa (+380)

“[Ephraim], you who are standing at the divine altar [in heaven] . . . bear us all in remembrance, petitioning for us the remission of sins, and the fruition of an everlasting kingdom” (Sermon on Ephraim the Syrian)

Letter of the Second Ecumenical Council to Emperor St.Theodosius the Great (Constantinople, 381 AD)

May God by the prayers of the Saints, show favour to the world, that you may be strong and eminent in all good things as an Emperor most truly pious and beloved of God.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+386)

We then commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, that God, by their prayers and intercessions, may receive our petitions. 

George Bebis on the Cappadocian Fathers

 “In one of his letters, St. Basil (+379) explicitly writes that he accepts the intercession of the apostles, prophets and martyrs, and he seeks their prayers to God. (Letter 360)Then, speaking about the Forty Martyrs, who suffered martyrdom for Christ, he emphasizes that they are common friends of the human race, strong ambassadors and collaborators in fervent prayers. (Chapter 8) “

St. Gregory of Nyssa (+395-400)

asks St. Theodore the Martyr …to fervently pray to our Common King, our God, for the country and the people (Encomium to Martyr Theodore). “The same language is used by St. Gregory the Theologian (+390) in his encomium to St. Cyprian. (Gen. 44: 2 and Encomium to Julian, Iuventinus and Maximinus, 3).”

St. Basil the Great, of Caesarea in Asia Minor (+379)

According to the blameless faith of the Christians which we have obtained from God, I confess and agree that I believe in one God the Father Almighty; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost; I adore and worship one God, the Three. I confess to the oeconomy of the Son in the flesh, and that the holy Mary, who gave birth to Him according to the flesh, was Mother of God. I acknowledge also the holy apostles, prophets, and martyrs; and I invoke them to supplication to God, that through them, that is, through their mediation, the merciful God may be propitious to me, and that a ransom may be made and given me for my sins. Wherefore also I honour and kiss the features of their images, inasmuch as they have been handed down from the holy apostles, and are not forbidden, but are in all our churches. We beseech you, O most holy martyrs, who cheerfully suffered torments and death for his love, and are now more familiarly united to him, that you intercede with God for us slothful and wretched sinners, that he bestow on us the grace of Christ, by which we may be enlightened and enabled to love him. O holy choir! O sacred band! O unbroken host of warriors! O common guardians of the human race! Ye gracious sharers of our cares! Ye co-operators in our prayer! Most powerful intercessors! 

St. Gregory the Theologian, Patriarch of Constantinople; of Nazianzus in Asia Minor (+389-390)

Mayest thou [Cyprian] look down from above propitiously upon us, and guide our word and life; and shepherd [or shepherd with me] this sacred flock … gladdening us with a more perfect and clear illumination of the Holy Trinity, before Which thou standest. 

John Chrysostom (+392)

“He that wears the purple [i.e., a royal man] . . . stands begging of the saints to be his patrons with God, and he that wears a diadem begs the tentmaker [Paul] and the fisherman [Peter] as patrons, even though they be dead” (Homilies on Second Corinthians 26).

“When you perceive that God is chastening you, fly not to his enemies . . . but to his friends, the martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to him, and who have great power [in God]” (Orations 8:6)

St. Gregory of Nyssa in Lower Armenia (+395-400)

…I wish to commemorate one person who spoke of their noble testimony because I am close to Ibora, the village and resting place of these forty martyrs’ remains. Here the Romans keep a register of soldiers, one of whom was a guard ordered by his commander to protect against invasions, a practice common to soldiers in such remote areas. This man suffered from an injured foot which was later amputated. Being in the martyrs’ resting place, he earnestly beseeched God and the intercession of the saints. One night there appeared a man of venerable appearance in the company of others who said,”Oh soldier, do you want to be healed [J.167] of your infirmity? Give me your foot that I may touch it.” When he awoke from the dream, his foot was completely healed. Once he awoke from this vision, his foot was restored to health. He roused the other sleeping men because he was immediately cured and made whole. These men then began to proclaim the miracle performed by the martyrs and acknowledged the kindness bestowed by these fellow soldiers…. We who freely and boldly enter paradise are strengthened by the [martyrs’]intercession through a noble confession in our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Do thou, [St. Ephraim the Syrian] that art standing at the Divine altar, and art ministering with angels to the life-giving and most Holy Trinity, bear us all in remembrance, petitioning for us the remission of sins, and the fruition of an everlasting kingdom.

St. Ambrose of Milan (+397)

May Peter, who wept so efficaciously for himself, weep for us and turn towards us Christ’s benignant countenance.

St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople; b.Antioch, Syria (+407)

When thou perceivest that God is chastening thee, fly not to His enemies . . . but to His friends, the martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to Him, and who have great power [parresian, “boldness of speech”]. He that wears the purple, laying aside his pomp, stands begging of the saints to be his patrons with God; and he that wears the diadem begs the Tent-maker and the Fisherman as patrons, even though they be dead. “[St. John]says that we should seek the intercession and the fervent prayers of the saints, because they have special “boldness” (parresia), before God.(Gen. 44: 2 and Encomium to Julian, Iuventinus and Maximinus, 3).”

St. Jerome (+419)

If the Apostles and Martyrs, while still in the body, can pray for others, at a time when they must still be anxious for themselves, how much more after their crowns, victories, and triumphs are won! One man, Moses, obtains from God pardon for six hundred thousand men in arms; and Stephen, the imitator of the Lord, and the first martyr in Christ, begs forgiveness for his persecutors; and shall their power be less after having begun to be with Christ? The Apostle Paul declares that two hundred threescore and sixteen souls, sailing with him, were freely given him; and, after he is dissolved and has begun to be with Christ, shall he close his lips, and not be able to utter a word in behalf of those who throughout the whole world believed at his preaching of the Gospel? And shall the living dog Vigilantius be better than that dead lion?

St. Augustine of Hippo, in North Africa (+430)

At the Lord’s table, we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps.

CONCLUSION

This is only a small fraction of the pieces of evidence from the early Church. The list goes on and on… by refusing to accept their instruction and testimony, anyone that denies that the saints intercede, transgresses the commands of the apostles. The weak argument of insisting that the Bible doesn’t say so is easily disproven. Scripture never says that Scripture is the sole infallible authority for God’s Word. Matt. 28:20 – “observe ALL I have commanded,” but, as we see in John 20:30; 21:25, not ALL Jesus taught is in Scripture. So there must be things outside of Scripture that we must observe. Mark 16:15 – Jesus commands the apostles to “preach,” not write, and only three apostles wrote. The others who did not write were not less faithful to Jesus, because Jesus gave them no directive to write. Luke 1:1-4 – Luke acknowledges that the faithful have already received the teachings of Christ, and is writing his Gospel only so that they “realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.” John 20:30; 21:25 – Jesus did many other things not written in the Scriptures. These have been preserved through the oral apostolic tradition and they are equally a part of the Deposit of Faith. Acts 8:30-31; Heb. 5:12 – these verses show that we need help in interpreting the Scriptures. We cannot interpret them infallibly on our own. We need divinely appointed leadership within the Church to teach us. Protestants, however, continue to attempt to interpret the words of the Saviour for themselves, which explains exactly why there are thousands upon thousands of Protestant denominations. As soon as a group disagrees with a teaching of their denomination, they splinter off and form their own denomination over and over until all that is left is a husk of Christianity filled with the very man-made teachings that they insist that they stand against. 

On the Genealogy of Christ – A Study on the Human Roots of Christ

Of the four women mentioned in the genealogy other than Mary, none were of the seed of Abraham. Tamar was a daughter of the land (probably a descendant of Ham). Rahab was of Jericho probably a Canaanites. Ruth was a descendant of Lot.  Christ, therefore, did not descend from a pure Jewish stock, rather, This would, from the Christian perspective, make Him a truly universal Messiah!  Rahab was a harlot, and Tamar posed as one to get Judah (her father-in-law) to impregnate her. Bathsheba, mother of Solomon, was an adulteress. The women Tamar, Rahab and Ruth, and Bathsheba all bore their sons through unions that were “regular.” These “irregularities” prefigure the ultimate “irregularity” of the Messiah’s birth of a virgin mother.  There were other irregularities in this family tree also. Micaiah was the great-granddaughter of David, and Rehoboam was David’s grandson – making them cousins, and too close to be married by today’s standards. 

The first individual mentioned in the bloodline of Christ is Abraham.  The most common question that people reading the genealogy have is: why does the genealogy begin with Abraham and not with Adam?  Those not listed in the Gospel from Adam to Abraham are Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, and Terah. Why are these generations skipped? Was the Messiah not promised to Adam in Genesis 3:15? One of the many possible answers is: It is Abraham with whom God made a covenant. The Covenant was fourfold: God would make Abraham’s descendants a great nation. God would bless Abraham materially and make his name great. God would protect Abraham by blessing those that blessed him and cursing those that opposed Abraham.  God would bless all the families of the earth through Abraham.  The culmination of this covenant was the coming of Christ to redeem mankind as promised, and all nations of the world were indeed blessed through Abraham as a result.

Abraham:  When God called Abram he was in a city in Babylonia, named Ur of the Chaldees. Abraham’s father, Terah according to Joshua 24:2, worshiped idols. Jewish tradition refers to Terah as an idol maker. Ur was an idolatrous city worshiping many different Gods such as the god of fire, moon, sun, and stars.  Abraham heard the voice of God. There is no hint that when God spoke to him that he questioned who God was. Further, he did not confuse the voice of God with the idols and false Gods that his father worshiped. He knew who was speaking to him.  

Isaac:  The firstborn of Sarah to Abraham.  He was the son who was to have been sacrificed to God by divine decree, but at the last moment, God sent an angel to spare him.  Isaac was, like his father, in the business of digging wells.  He married Rebekah and sired Jacob and Esau.

Jacob: Born pulling the ankle of his brother, Esau.  Later on in life, he tricked his father into bestowing the birthright upon him by wearing animal fur, after having purchased it from Esau for a bowl of soup.  Jacob had twelve sons and at least one daughter, by his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and by their female slaves Bilhah and Zilpah. He was renamed Israel by the angel after wrestling with the angel through the night.  Was at odds with his brother Esau throughout most of their life until he returned from working for Laban for twenty years.  At this time they were reconciled.  Later on, he journeyed to Egypt with his household due to famine and discovered that his son Joseph had not been slain, but had been elevated to viceroy in Egypt.  

Judah (Tamar):  Judah receives the blessing from his father, not because he is the firstborn, but because of the behaviour of his older brothers.  Reuben, the eldest, is skipped for his having had sexual relations with his father’s concubine.  Simeon and Levi were the next in line, but as a result of their violence and temperament, they too are skipped for the blessing.  As a result, Judah is blessed with “the scepter shall not depart from Judah” and is given kingship over his brothers.  Judah’s union with Tamar is a complicated one, in which she marries his eldest son Er, whom the Lord kills for his actions.  Then she is married to the next oldest, Onan, who refuses to provide offspring for his brother and spills his seed rather than impregnating her.  Shelah, his youngest is too young, so Judah advises her to wait.  When Shelah comes of age, Judah does not give him to her in marriage.  She then disguises as a prostitute and tricks Judah into having intercourse with her.  When she is found to be pregnant, he intends to kill her until she provides his staff to him and he realizes his sin.

Phares: Not much is mentioned other than he is a twin son of Zerah, through Judah and Tamar.

Esrom:  The older of the two sons of Perez.  He is mentioned in Chronicles as being among the youngest generation of the 70 Israelites to migrate to Egypt during the famine with Jacob. 

Aram: Aram is the son of Esrom and the father of Amminadab. No mention other than genealogies.

Aminadab: Born during the Israelite Exile in Egypt.  Married Aaron the priest’s daughter, Elisheva. Fathered Nasson, chief of the tribe of Judah.

Nasson:  Exodus records him as being at least twenty years of age during the Exodus from Egypt and the census taken in the wilderness.  He was appointed by Moses as the chief of the tribe of Judah.  Nasson died before the entry into the promised land.

Salmon (Rahab): Salmon married Rahab the harlot, who at the city of Jericho hid the two Israelite spies that Joshua had sent to scout out the city under a bundle of flax on her roof.  She later lowered them out her window, and as a sign to the attacking Israelites, agreed to hang a red cord out of her window so that her family would be spared.  She, like Tamar, is not from an Israelite stock, but was a Canaanite. 

Boaz (Ruth): A wealthy landowner that marries Ruth.  Ruth came to be seen by Boaz gleaning wheat in the fields with her mother in law Nomi.  She remained with her mother in law, though her husband had died.  Boaz, after marrying her, purchased the lands that Naomi had been forced to sell and placed them back within the hands of the “Elimelech” line.  He also dedicates his firstborn through Ruth as the offspring of Elimelech.

Obed: Obed is the Son of Boaz and the father of Jesse. No mention other than genealogies.

Jesse: Jesse meaning “God exists” or “God’s gift”, had eight sons and two daughters, but he is known to Bible History primarily because of his youngest son, the one who became King David. As such, Jesse was a key ancestor of Jesus Christ. Not much more is mentioned about him other than prophetic writings regarding his son David, and a root of Jesse from which the Messiah is to come.

David (Bathsheba): David son of Jesse, was the second king (after Saul) of the united kingdom of Israel. David is portrayed before his rise to the throne, as a humble shepherd tending sheep, and slaying any creature that dared to attack his flock. His rise to fame began when Israel faced the Philistines in the valley of Elah. None in Israel was brave enough to face the Philistine champion, Goliath. David, believing fully in the power of the Lord God of Israel, volunteered to fight the giant. Saul first tried to fit David with armour, but David refused, choosing to use only five smooth stones found in the stream, and a slingshot. After slaying the giant and removing his head, the Philistines fled. Over the next few years, David has an on and off relationship with Saul, at times fleeing him in fear for his life. Jonathan, Saul’s son, however; forms a close bond with David and aids him in knowing the ever-changing moods and intent of Saul. After both Saul and his son David are slain by the Philistines (Saul took his own life by falling on his own sword) David is anointed king by Samuel. David is also highly known in his dealings with Uriah the Hittite in order to take Uriah’s wife Bathsheba for himself. Davids sons Adonijah and Absalom rebel against him, in the end, dying or being slain, leaving Solomon as heir to the throne. The entire book of Psalms is, by tradition, attributed to David’s authorship.

Solomon: The son of David and final ruler of the United Kingdom of Israel which spit into Israel and Judah following his death. Solomon is most popularly known for his construction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon was granted wisdom by God and is stated to be the wisest man ever. In one tale, he rightly judges the true mother of a surviving child between two women, one of whose child died. On his relationship with the queen of Sheba and his control of demons, there is much Talmudic lore, but there is no Biblical evidence for such. He is said to have had  Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, and an amazing number of horses and chariots.

Rehoboam: Rehoboam inherited a united kingdom of Israel which he ruled until the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled and split away. The initial rebellion resulted from the fear of the people, that he would continue to tax them excessively just as Solomon had done to finance the construction of the Temple and of his Palace. Foolishly listening to his advisors and fearing to show weakness, he proclaimed to the people that he would tax the people ten times more than his father had. In the end, his kingdom (Judah) fell to the Egyptians with him being left as a tributary of the Egyptian kings.

Abijam: Abijam was the son  Micaiah, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah, and the granddaughter of King David’s rebellious son Absalom. The biblical narrative has him going to extreme lengths in order to reunite the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Abijam successfully defeats Jeroboam, however is ultimately unsuccessful in reuniting the kingdom. 

Asa: Asa is best known for his insistence in the worship of the God of Israel, and the destruction of idols. He is credited with rebelling successfully against Egypt and liberating the kingdom of Judah. In his reign, the Bible specifically mentions there being “peace in the land”. Chastised by the prophet Hanani for relying on the kingdom of Syria rather than solely relying on the Divine, he threw the prophet into prison. In his thirty-ninth year of kingship, he contracted an incurable disease and died two years later.

Jehoshaphat: Son of Azubah, the wife of his father King Asa and daughter of Shilhi. He succeeded his father at the age of thirty-five, and reigned over the kingdom of Judah for twenty-five years. He spent the first five years of his reign fighting off the advances of the kingdom of Israel. He is credited for destroying idolatry (cult of Baal) and for rooting out sexual immorality from the kingdom. The final note in his kingly record is when the Moabites rallied to invade his kingdom. When they encamped at Ein Gedi, King Jehoshaphat and the entire kingdom took to prayer and fasting. The next day, the Moabite army was seen to be quarreling and fighting among themselves, eventually defeating themselves without any intervention from the army of Jehosaphat. 

Joram:  Joram succeeded his father at the age of thirty-two, ruling for only eight years. In order to ensure that his reign remained uncontested, he slew all of his brothers.  He forged an extremely shaky alliance with the kingdom of Israel by marrying Athaliah, the daughter of King Ahab. The Bible states that he abandoned the God of his fathers, and as punishment, the Lord sent a raid party consisting of Philistines, Arabs, and Ethiopians who despoiled the king’s palace, carrying off his entire family with the exception of his youngest son Jehoahaz.

Ozias: Ozias was the son of Amaziah, who was the son of Joash who was the son of Ahaziah, who was the son of Joram. It is unclear why the genealogy presented skips these three generations. He ascended to the throne at the age of eighteen and reigned for fifty-two years. The prophet Zechariah was active during his reign. The Bible states that during his reign, he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and infers that this is why he had the most prosperous reign after Solomon. In the end, though, his pride was his undoing when he entered the temple in order to burn incense on the altar of incense (a duty reserved to the priests of the line of Aaron). Azariah the High Priest and a few other priests opposed him in this move and an earthquake occurred with rays of light from the cracks in the earth shining on Ozias, casting leprosy upon him. After this, he dwelt in solitude until his death.

As a side note: This strange skipping of generations creates an anomaly the mentioned generations that existed in the listed genealogies, throwing off the count of fourteen generations, fourteen generations, and fourteen generations. The use of fourteen is speculated to be because fourteen is the numerical value of the Hebrew letters forming the name of David. In Hebrew numerology, this solidifies his place as a king. Furthermore, in the final grouping, there are only thirteen names. This may be because Matthew took a little poetic license here to force each grouping to appear as fourteen generations, or may be because the writer added Jesus as the fourteenth name. Some scholars suggest that Jesus who is called the Messiah doubles the final member of the chain.

Joatham: Joatham ascended to the throne at the age of twenty-five and reigned for sixteen years. He reigned for sixteen years until he was replaced with his son Achaz by the Syrian rulers of Judah. He is recorded to have waged war against  Rezin, king of the Arameans, and Pekah, king of Israel. The prophets Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah preached and prophesied during his reign. He is credited with rebuilding the temple walls, and with defeating the kingdom of the Ammonites.

Achatz: Achatz was placed on the throne of his father at the age of twenty by the Syrian rulers of Judah. He reigned for sixteen years. The Bible makes clear that he was wicked, and credits him with introducing idols and idolatrous cults to Judah. He even went so far as to erect an idol in the temple of the Lord. When he died at the age of thirty-six, he was deemed unworthy because of his wickedness, and he was not buried with his ancestors. 

Ezekias: Ezekias succeeded his wicked father at the age of twenty-five, and his first act was to instruct the priests and Levites to open and repair the doors of the Temple and to remove the defilements of the sanctuary. His mother was Abijah, who was the daughter of the high priest, Zechariah. His wife was Hephzibah, who was noted as being “God-fearing”. Ezekias is credited with abolishing idol worship throughout his kingdom and restoring worship of the God of Israel. He witnessed the Assyrian conquest of the kingdom of Israel, and himself refused to pay tribute to Sennacherib. As a result, Sennacherib marched also against Judah but failed to conquer the kingdom. Isaiah and Micah prophesied during his reign. Ezekias reigned over the kingdom of Judah for twenty-nine years. 

Mannases: Mannases was the only son of Ezekias and Hephzibah. He ascended the throne at the age of twelve and reigned over the kingdom of Judah for fifty-five years. He is said to have been wicked, undoing the religious reforms of his father and instituting pagan worship and idolatry. He was married to Meshullemeth, daughter of Harus of Jotbah. He reigned for fifty-five years, after which he was buried in the garden of Uzza rather than in the tombs of his ancestors. 

Ammon: Ammon followed in the footsteps of his father, encouraging and propagating idolatry, which led to a revolt culminating in his assassination at the hands of his own servants. The Bible states that Ammon “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father. And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them.”He was married to Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. He ascended to the throne at the age of twenty-two and ruled for only two years. 

Josiah: Josiah ascended to the throne at the age of eight, and reigned over the kingdom of Judah for thirty-one years. Josias had four sons: Johanan and Eliakim with Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah, and two more sons, Mattanyahu and Shallum with Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. Josias ordered his High Priest Hilkiah to use the tax money which had been collected over the years, in order to restore the temple. During these renovations, Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law while clearing the treasure room of the Temple. Hilkiah then brought this scroll to Josias’ attention, who then ordered that it be read to the people in Jerusalem. Josias is credited with destroying the pagan objects related to the worship of Baal and Asherah and executing their priests. Josias was killed during a Babylonian invasion.

Jechonias: Jechonias ascended the throne at the age of eighteen, and reigned for only three years and ten days until he and all of the influential leaders of Judah were lead in exile to Babylon. Jechonias was released from prison “in the 37th year of the exile” when Evil-Merodach ascended to the throne of Babylon. Jeremiah cursed Jechonias stating that none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne of Israel. This is particularly interesting, as he is included in the lineage of Christ, who is said to be the Messiah and King, who will sit on the throne of His father David.

Salathiel: Though Salathiel never sat on the throne, Salathiel was regarded as the second Exilarch of Judah during the Babylonian captivity. His genealogy is not entirely clear and does not match up in the Matthew and Luke genealogical accounts.

Zerubbabel: Zerubbabel was assigned as the governor of the Persian Province of Judah, as he was next surviving in line for the throne of Jechonias. The Bible account assigns him as being a close associate of Jeshua son of Jehozadak. These two men are recorded as having led the Jewish refugees from exile back to Jerusalem and are stated to have begun reconstruction of the temple. He appears in the prophecies of both Haggai and Zechariah. “I will take you Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, my servant, and wear you like a signet ring; for it is you whom I have chosen. This is the word of the Lord of Hosts” and “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; (concerning the rebuilding of the temple) his hands shall also complete it.”. 

Abiud: Abiud is the son of Zerubbabel and the father of Eliakim. No mention other than genealogies.

Eliakim: Eliakim is the son of Abiud and the father of Azor. No mention other than genealogies.

Azor: Azor is the son of Eliakim and the father of Zadok. No mention other than genealogies.

Zadok: Zadok is the son of Azor and the father of Achim. No mention other than genealogies.

Achim: Achim is the son of Zadok and the father of Eliud. No mention other than genealogies.

Eliud: Eliud is the son of Achim and the father of Eleazar. No mention other than genealogies.

Eliazar: Eliazar is the son of Eliud and the father of Matthan. No mention other than genealogies.

Matthan: Matthan is the son of Eleazar and the father of Jacob. No mention other than genealogies.

Jacob: Jacob is the son of Matthan and the father of Joseph. No mention other than genealogies.

Joseph (Mary):  Joseph is stated as being a resident of Nazareth who travels to Bethlehem in compliance with the Roman census. At this time, Joseph was betrothed to Mary. The story of Mary here begins with the Angel Gabriel appearing to her and telling her that she shall conceive and bear a child who is the son of God. The Bible states that this annunciation occurred in the sixth month of her cousin Elizabeth’s (mother of John the Baptist) pregnancy. “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: (Though as a descendant of Jechonias, cursed by Jeremiah)  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Prior to his journey, he learns of Mary’s pregnancy, and have had no relations with her, decides to quietly break off the engagement. However, an angel appears to him telling him not to fear to take Mary as his wife, stating that the child which is conceived within her is of the Holy Spirit. While in Bethlehem, Jesus is born in a manger, because “there was no room for them in the inn. After the birth of Jesus Joseph receives an angelic messenger in a dream telling him to take the child and to flee to Egypt. Not long thereafter, all male children up to the age of two in the region were ordered slain by Herod. Upon the death of Herod, Joseph returns to Nazareth. The Biblical narrative records this as fulfillment of the Old Testament words, “Out of Egypt I have called forth my son.”. Joseph is referred to in the Gospels as a Carpenter, Smith or Artisan. Joseph is mentioned beyond that only in the episode in which Jesus is left behind at the Temple, and the Gospels record “His parents” as looking for Him. The plural indicates that Joseph was at the time, present. We do know from Matthew, chapter one, that he was an excellent earthly example of integrity and righteousness, however, nothing else is presented in the Bible as to the personage of Joseph, or as to his demise.  

Mary: Mary is scarcely mentioned in the gospels either, though more often than her husband. She occurs only twenty-one times in the New Testament. Luke’s gospel mentions Mary, identifying her by name twelve times in the infancy narrative. Matthew’s gospel mentions her by name five times, four being within the infancy narrative and only one “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?” outside the infancy narrative. Mark’s gospel names her only once “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” and mentions her as Jesus’ mother without naming her ”There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.”. John’s gospel refers to her twice but never mentions her by name. Described as Jesus’ mother, she makes two appearances in John’s gospel. She is first seen at the wedding at Cana of Galilee. The second reference in John, mentions her standing near the cross of her son together with the “disciple whom Jesus loved. In the Book of Acts, Mary and the “brothers of Jesus” are mentioned in the company of the eleven who are gathered in the upper room following the ascension.

The Rosary’s Prayers in Latin

Confiteor

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatae Mariae semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Ioanni Baptistae, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo et opere: mea culpa [strike breast], mea culpa [strike breast], mea maxima culpa [strike breast].

Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Ioannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, et omnes Sanctos, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum. Amen.

Signum Crucis

In nomine Patris [touch forehead] et Filii [touch breast] et Spiritus Sancti [touch left shoulder, then right shoulder]. Amen.

Symbolum Apostolorum

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae. Et in Iesum Christum, Filium eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.  + Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam aeternam. Amen.

I. Mysteria Gaudiosa

  • Prímum mystérium est:
    Annuntiátio Beátæ Maríæ Vírginis
  • Secúndum mystérium est:
    Visitátio Beátæ Maríæ Vírginis ad Sánctam Elízabethem
  • Tértium mystérium est:
    Natívitas Dómini nostri Jésu Christi
  • Quartum mystérium est:
    Praesentátio Puéri Jésu in Templo et Purificátio Beátæ Maríæ Vírginis
  • Quintum mystérium est:
    Invéntio Puéri Jésu in Templo

II. Mysteria Dolorosa

  • Prímum mystérium est:
    Orátio in horto Dómini nostri Jésu Christi
  • Secúndum mystérium est:
    Flagellátio Dómini nostri Jésu Christi
  • Tertium mystérium est:
    Coronátio spinis Dómini nostri Jésu Christi
  • Quartum mystérium est:
    Bajulátio Crúcis Dómini nostri Jésu Christi
  • Quintum mystérium est:
    Crucifíxio et mors Dómini nostri Jésu Christi

III. Mysteria Gloriosa

  • Prímum mystérium est:
    Resurréctio Dómini nostri Jésu Christi a mórtuis
  • Secúndum mystérium est:
    Ascénsio in cáelis Dómini nostri Jésu Christi
  • Tértium mystérium est:
    Advéntus Spíritus Sancti in discípulos et Beátæ Maríæ Vírginis
  • Quartum mystérium est:
    Assúmptio Beátæ Maríæ Vírginis ad cáelum
  • Quintum mystérium est:
    Coronátio Beátæ Maríæ Vírginis in cáelis

Pater Noster (Oratio Dominica)

Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur Nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. + Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

Ave Maria (Salutatio Angelica)

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. + Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Doxologia Minor

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.+ Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Oratio Fatimae

Oh mi Jesu, dimitte nobis debita nostra, libera nos ab igne inferni, conduc in caelum omnes animas, praesertim illas quae maxime indigent misericordia tua. Amen

Réquiem ætérnam (Mense Novembri)

Réquiem ætérnam dona ei (eis) Dómine; et lux perpétua lúceat ei (eis). Requiéscat (Requiéscant) in pace. Amen.

Salve Regina

Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae: vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle. Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende. O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. Amen.

Memorare

Memorare, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. Amen.

Oratio ad Sanctum Michael

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae coelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute, in infernum detrude. Amen.

Oratio ad Sanctum Iosephum (in quinta sabbati)

Ad te beate Ioseph, in tribulatione nostra confugimus, atque, implorato Sponsae tuae sanctissimae auxilio, patrocinium quoque tuum fidenter exposcimus.

Per eam, quaesumus quae te cum immaculata Virgine Dei Genetrice coniunxit, caritatem, perque paternum, quo Puerum Iesum amplexus es, amorem, supplices deprecamur, ut ad hereditatem, quam Iesus Christus acquisivit Sanguine suo, benignus respicias, ac necessitatibus nostris tua virtute et ope succurras.

Tuere, o Custos providentissime divinae Familiae, Iesu Christi sobolem electam; prohibe a nobis, amantissime Pater, omnem errorum ac corruptelarum luem; propitius nobis, sospitator noster fortissime, in hoc cum potestate tenebrarum certamine e caelo adesto; et sicut olim Puerum Iesum e summo eripuisti vitae discrimine, ita nunc Ecclesiam sanctam Dei ab hostilibus insidiis atque ab omni adversitate defende: nosque singulos perpetuo tege patrocinio, ut ad tui exemplar et ope tua suffulti, sancte vivere, pie emori, sempiternamque in caelis beatitudinem assequi possimus. Amen.

On the Evils of Slanderous Speech

This is by no means all-inclusive, it is merely a starting point.  This list is being created for the purpose of reminding the Holy body of Christ, the Catholic Church, of the evil that we allow into our lives, at times, unwittingly.  If each of us reads just one of these daily and strives to prevent ourselves from speaking evil or slander, then this world will be a much better place, and the body of Christ will be more complete!  If you know of a bible verse or Patristic quote that applies, please message me and I will get it added.  I appreciate any help that you provide, and will credit you at the bottom of the post for your assistance.  Please spread this note around to all of your Orthodox friends and let’s make it our goal, to reduce the evil speech and slander that goes on in this world by each and every one of us purifying our own tongues from this wickedness.

BIBLE QUOTES REGARDING EVIL SPEECH:

  • “You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 19:16
  • “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” – Proverbs 8:13
  • “He who utters slander is a fool.” – Proverbs 10:18
  • “He who guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” – Proverbs 13:3
  • “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1
  • “An ungodly man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.” – Proverbs 16:27
  • “He who mocks the poor insults his Maker.” – Proverbs 17:5
  • “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” – Proverbs 18:21
  • “…let not the slanderer be established in the land.” – Proverbs 140:11
  • “Glory and dishonor come from speaking, and a man’s tongue is his downfall.  Do not be called a slanderer, and do not lie in ambush with your tongue.” – Sirach 5:13-14
  • “A slip of the tongue is worse than a slip on the pavement; the wicked will go to ruin just as suddenly as a person slips and falls.” – Sirach 20:18
  • “Curse the whisperer and deceiver, for he has destroyed many who were at peace.  Slander has shaken many and scattered them from nation to nation, and destroyed strong cities, and overturned houses of great men.  Slander has driven away courageous women and deprived them of the fruit of their toil.  Whoever pays heed to slander will not find rest, nor will he settle down in peace.” – Sirach 28:12-16 
  • “Beware of useless murmuring, and keep your tongue from slander.  Because, no secret word is without result, and a lying mouth destroys the soul.” – Wisdom 1:11
  • ‎”You brood of vipers!  How can you speak good, when you are evil.  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  I tell you on the Day of Judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:34-37
  • “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29
  • “If any man among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain.” – James 1:26
  • “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3:5-6
  • “With the tongue, we praise our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” – James 3:9-10
  • “Do not speak evil against one another, brethren.  He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother speaks evil against the law and judges the law.  But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.” – James 4:11
  • “But now put them all away; anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” – Colossians 3:8-10
  • “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful and beneficial to others.” – Colossians 4:6

PATRISTIC QUOTES REGARDING EVIL SPEECH:

“We must answer for every superfluous word, even more so for every shameful word” – St. Gregory the Theologian

“They say that most of the people in hell are those who murdered with malicious words!” – Elder Arsenie (Papacioc)

“We and our brothers are dual images: whenever a man is attentive to himself and reproaches himself he finds his brother to be virtuous; but when he thinks that he himself is good, he finds his brother to be evil in his sight.” – Saint Poimen

“Busy yourself with your own faults, and not with other people’s and the workshop of your mind will not be despoiled.” – Saint Mark the Ascetic.

“The chief cause of criticism and slander is pride and egotism, for man thinks himself better [than others]. For this reason, it is very beneficial for a person to think of himself as smaller than all, so that he sees the brother as better, in order that he may, with the help of God, be delivered from this evil.” – Elder Ephraim of Philotheou 

“If something pushes you to criticism about some business or other of a brother or of a monastery, you, rather, try to pray about the matter, without passing it under judgment of your reason.” – Elder Ephraim of Philotheou”

Criticism is a serious sin, just as it is likewise serious when someone does not bear the weaknesses of his neighbor.” – Elder Ephraim of Philotheou

“My children, avoid criticism, a very great sin. God is grieved whenever we criticize and loathe people. Let us concern ourselves only with our own faults, for these let us feel pain; let us criticize ourselves and then we will find mercy and grace from God.” – Elder Ephraim of Philotheou”

How much hope there is for those who do not trust in themselves too much and are not overly-critical of others! And how little hope for those whose orientation is the opposite!” – Father Seraphim Rose

‎”He who quarrels consoles the devil; he who makes peace gladdens Christ.” – Saint John Maximovich

“One who spreads words of evil from one person to another is the messenger of Satan!” – Saint John Saba

“It is better to eat meat and drink wine and not to eat the flesh of one’s brethren through slander.” – Abba Hyperechius

Judging – a Christian Attribute?

I continue to be amused by the poor souls which proclaim me to not be a Christian and then proceed to name my faults. These people, ignorant of Christ’s words, bemoan my mistakes, sins, and shortcomings as if they themselves, are the very picture of perfection. All the while, overlooking that Christ said, “it is not the well that require a physician”. I am the first to admit that I am sinful and that I do not always portray the glowing credentials of what a Christian should be. But it is this ability to admit my own faults give evidence that I continue to struggle for holiness. For if I didn’t care about being righteous, evil would have no cause to attack me. That being said, what exactly is the Christian attitude of the judgemental holier than thou mentality? What does the Church teach on judging, and more importantly, what did God and His messengers teach?

The easy answer is to look to His parable of the Publican and the Tax Collector found in the Gospel of Luke 18:9-14: “Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: ‘God, I thank you, that I am not like the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn’t even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

In this parable, we see a Pharisee judging a tax collector, and indeed all others that are not like him, and Jesus uses this to show that those that judge lack humility, instead of counting all of their good deeds to exalt themselves pridefully above others, and even indicates that their prayers are not heard! Continuing on, let’s look at Jesus’ direct teachings on judging others. In three very clear and indisputable words, Jesus commanded us, in Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge”. Can it be that He actually intended us not to judge others? He continues in His teaching, and implies that it’s not the act of judging but rather the attitude with which it is done that causes God to dislike the act as indicated in the following verse, Matthew 7:2; “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged”.

There are many other Scriptures that speak on the issue, though some at first glance appear to be contradictory. Paul advised Christians of Rome in Romans 14:13 to avoid judging one another but told the Corinthians in First Corinthians 5:12-13 that they were to judge sinful believers, but to leave people outside the church alone for God to judge. James taught in James 4:11 that whoever judges his brother is speaking against the law but in James 2:12-13 he also implied that any judgments of others made must be done in mercy.

This confusing mix of instructions has confused many people. On one hand, we are commanded by Jesus, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). On the other hand, we are warned to beware of evildoers and false prophets and to avoid those who practice all kinds of evil. How are we to rightfully discern who these people are if we do not in any way judge them? To answer this question, we must research the usage of judgment throughout the Bible.

Many Old Testament passages attest to God as true and righteous Judge:

  • God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” – Psalm 7:11
  • He shall judge the world in righteousness, and he shall administer judgments for the people in uprightness.” – Psalm 9:8
  • Let the heavens declare His righteousness, for God himself is Judge. Selah” – Psalm 50:6
  • For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us.” – Isaiah 33:22

The Old Testament refers often, to God as the ultimate Judge. Whereas in the New Testament, we see that the Father has committed authority and judgment over to the Son. Jesus spoke of this granted authority before ascending into heaven, as recorded in Matthew 28:18.

  • For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” – John 5:22
  • “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day”. John 12:46–48
  • Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” – Acts 17:31

As may be clearly seen in the aforementioned passages, the Bible makes clear that in the end, Jesus will righteously judge all of humanity based upon each person’s faith in, or rejection of the Son. The Judge of all of creation has made a judgment regarding salvation, echoed by the Apostle Peter in Acts 4:12: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. There will be no time to debate whether the judgment is right or wrong because the ultimate Judge has decreed His justice through the Son.

Scripture makes it very clear that there is but one true and righteous Judge, which is the Lord God, through the person of His Son Jesus, and that He alone is worthy to determine the righteous or the wicked motives and behaviors of those who appear to be doing evil. The plain and simple fact is, as proven throughout scripture, that judging is the diametric opposite of humility, making a judgmental person a transgressor of both the command against judging and the command against pride.

The Bible on Judging

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure, you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”

Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

John 8:7 “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

James 4:11 “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.”

James 4:12 “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”

Romans 2:1-3 “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?”

Romans 12:16-19 “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Romans 14:1-13 “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

Fathers of the Church on Judging

“If at some time you show mercy to someone, mercy will be shown to you. If you show compassion to one who is suffering (and of course, this is not a great deed) you will be numbered among the martyrs. If you forgive one who has insulted you, then not only will all your sins be forgiven, but you will be a child of the Heavenly Father. If you pray from all your heart for salvation – even a little – you will be saved. If you rebuke yourself, accuse yourself, and judge yourself before God for your sins, with a sensitive conscience, even for this you will be justified. If you are sorrowful for your sins, or you weep, or sigh, your sigh will not be hidden from Him and, as St. John Chrysostom says, ‘If you only lament for your sins, then He will receive this for your salvation.” – Saint Moses of Optina

“A man can know nothing about the judgments of God. He alone is the one who takes account of all and is able to judge the hearts of each one of us, as He alone is our Master. Truly it happens that a man may do a certain thing which seems to be wrong out of simplicity, and there may be something about it which makes more amends to God than your whole life; how are you going to sit in judgment and constrict your own soul? And should it happen that he has fallen away, how do you know how much and how well he fought; how much blood he sweated before he did it? Perhaps so little fault can be found in him that God can look on his action as if it were just, for God looks on his labor and all the struggle he had before he did it, and has pity on him. And do you know this, and what God has spared him for? Are you going to condemn him for this and ruin your own soul? And how do you know what tears he has shed about it before God? You may well know about the sin but do you not know about the repentance?” – Saint Dorotheos of Gaza

“To judge sins is the business of one who is sinless, but who is sinless except God? Whoever thinks about the multitude of his own sins in his heart never wants to make the sins of others a topic of conversation. To judge a man who has gone astray is a sign of pride, and God resists the proud. On the other hand, one who every hour prepares himself to give answer for his own sins will not quickly lift up his head to examine the mistakes of others.” – Saint Gennadius of Constantinople

“If someone offends you, don’t tell anyone about it except your elder, and you will be peaceful. Bow to everyone, paying no attention whether they respond to your bow or not. You must humble yourself before everyone and consider yourself the worst of all. If we have not committed the sins that others have, perhaps this is because we did not have the opportunity – the situation and circumstances were different. In each person there is something good and something bad; we usually see only the vices in people and we see nothing that is good.” – Saint Ambrose of Optina

“Christ prayed for those that crucified Him: ‘Father, count not this sin against them; they know not what they do.’ Archdeacon Stephen prayed for those who stoned him so that the Lord would not judge this sin against them. And so we, if we wish to retain grace, must pray for our enemies. If you do not find pity on a sinner who will suffer in flames, then you do not carry the grace of the Holy Spirit, but rather an evil spirit; and while you yet live, you must free yourself from his clutches through repentance.” – Saint Silouan the Athonite

“Almost every sin is committed for the sake of sensual pleasure, and sensual pleasure is overcome by hardship and distress arising either voluntarily from repentance, or else involuntarily as a result of some salutary and providential reversal. ‘For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged; but when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, so that we should not be condemned with the world.” – Saint Maximos the Confessor

“Believe that others are better than you in the depths of their soul, although outwardly you may appear better than they.” – Saint Augustine

“Even if you are not what you should be, you should not despair. It is bad enough that you have sinned; why in addition do you wrong God by regarding him in your ignorance as powerless? Is he, who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul? And if you say that this fact, as well as his incarnation, only makes your condemnation worse, then repent; and he will receive your repentance, as he accepted that of the prodigal son and the prostitute. But if repentance is too much for you, and you sin out of habit even when you do not want to, show humility like the publican: this is enough to ensure your salvation. For he who sins without repenting, yet does not despair, must of necessity regard himself as the lowest of creatures, and will not dare to judge or censure anyone. Rather, he will marvel at God’s compassion.” – Saint Peter of Damaskos

“A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning others, he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent, that is, he says nothing that is not profitable.” – Saint Abba Pimen

“A discerning man, when he eats grapes, takes only the ripe ones and leaves the sour. Thus also the discerning mind carefully marks the virtues which he sees in any person. A mindless man seeks out the vices and failings …Even if you see someone sin with your own eyes, do not judge; for often even your eyes are deceived.“ – Saint John of the Ladder

“If you see your neighbor in sin, don’t look only at this, but also think about what he has done or does that is good, and infrequently trying this in general, while not partially judging, you will find that he is better than you.” – Saint Basil the Great

Narratives of Saintly Fathers

Abba Pastor said, “Judge not him who is guilty of fornication, if you are chaste, or you will break the law like him. For He who said “do not commit fornication” said also “Do not judge”.

A brother asked abba Poemen, “If I see my brother sin, is it right to say nothing about it?” The old man replied, “Whenever we cover our brother’s sin, God will cover ours; whenever we tell people about our brother’s guilt, God will do the same about ours.”

A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to him saying, “Come, for everyone is waiting for you”. So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug and filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said, “what is this, father?” The old man said to them, “My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.” When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.

A brother sinned and the priest ordered him to go out of the church; abba Bessarion got up and went out with him, saying, “I, too, am a sinner.”

Prayers Specific to Judging and to Humility

“O Lord and Master of my life…grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for You are blessed unto ages of ages.” – Prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy upon me, an unworthy sinner.” – The Jesus Prayer

Homily of Saint John Chrysostomos

“What then? Ought we not to blame them that sin? Because Paul also says the same thing: ‘Why do you judge your brother? Who are you to judge the servant of another?’…How then does Paul say elsewhere, ‘Them that sin rebuke in the presence of all?’ And Christ too says to Peter in Mt.18, ‘If your brother sins, go and reprove him in private, and if he refuses to hear, take to yourself another also, and if even then he does not yield, declare it to the church’. And how has Christ set us clergy over so many to reprove, and not only to reprove, but also to punish? In the command “Judge not, lest you be judged”, Christ speaks to them that are full of innumerable ills, and are trampling upon other men for trifles. And I think that certain Jews too are here hinted at, for while they were bitterly accusing their neighbors for small faults that came to nothing, they were themselves committing deadly sins… And the Corinthians too, Paul did not command absolutely not to judge, but not to judge their own superiors; they should not refrain from correcting them that sin… ‘What then!’ you say, ‘if one commit fornication, may I not say that fornication is a bad thing, and correct him that is fornicating?’ Correct him, but not as a foe, nor as an enemy exacting a penalty, but as a physician providing medicine. For Christ did not say, ‘Do not stop him who is sinning’, but rather ‘judge not’—that is, ‘do not be bitter in pronouncing sentence’…Christ does not forbid judging, but commands you first to take out the log from your own eye, and only then set right the doings of the rest of the world” – Homily 23 on Matthew’s Gospel

On the Historicity of Jesus

Why didn’t more contemporaries write about Jesus? Was Jesus truly a historical figure? Is the Bible reliable?

The following is a write up on the historicity of the Biblical narrative regarding Jesus Christ of Nazareth, using contemporary authors and historians of his era, as well as refuting the supposed silence of historians on his existence.

Christians in this day and age face a great deal of criticism from secular humanists, atheists, and others. One of the arguments that these people use to intimidate and harass Christians is to claim that Jesus didn’t really exist as a historical person. People have long tried to disprove Jesus’ very existence by stating a long list of people who were contemporaries of Jesus, that didn’t mention him in their writings. While this long list of names may seem impressive, once you look at this list closely, you find several problems. Some of these writers did indeed mention Jesus. Most by far, though, would have no reason to mention Jesus and also did not mention Christians, though they certainly existed in the time many of these writers lived, and many also make no mention of the Jews. Would you have me believe that there is no historical evidence that the Jews existed? There is however a great deal of independent evidence outside of the influence of the Christian community for the existence of Jesus, in the 1st Century. This includes archaeological evidence, historical testimony, and textual evidence, all of which point to the existence of the Anointed, in accordance with the standard Biblical timeline. First, we will address the criticisms. 

As far as the historians of the day were concerned, he was just a “blip” on the screen. Jesus did not address the Roman Senate, or write extensive Greek philosophical treatises; he never traveled outside of the regions of Palestine and was not a member of any known political party. It is only because Christians later made Jesus a “celebrity” that He became known. Sanders, comparing Jesus to Alexander, notes that the latter “so greatly altered the political situation in a large part of the world that the main outline of his public life is very well known indeed. Jesus had no effect on the social, political and economic circumstances in. The greater preponderance of evidence for Jesus is seen when we ask what he thought.”

Roman writers could hardly be expected to have foreseen the subsequent influence of Christianity on the Roman Empire and therefore to have carefully documented” Christian origins. How were they to know that this minor Nazarene prophet would cause such an uproar? Jesus was executed as a criminal, providing him with the ultimate marginality. This was one reason why historians would have ignored Jesus. He suffered the ultimate humiliation, both in the eyes of Jews (Deut. 21:23 – Anyone hung on a tree is cursed) and the Romans (He died the death of slaves and rebels.). On the other hand, Jesus was a minimal threat compared to other “Messiahs” of the time. Rome had to call out troops to quell the disturbances caused by the unnamed Egyptian referenced in the Book of Acts. In contrast, no troops were required to suppress Jesus’ followers.

To the Romans, the primary gatekeepers of written history at the time, Jesus during His own life would have been no different than thousands of other everyday criminals that were crucified — at least until his followers inspired a reason for depth investigation. Jesus marginalized himself by being occupied as an itinerant preacher. Of course, there was no Palestine News Network, and even if there had been one, there were no televisions to broadcast it. Jesus never used the established “news organs” of the day to spread His message. He traveled about the countryside, avoiding for the most part (and with the exception of Jerusalem) the major urban centers of the day. Jesus’ teachings did not always jive with and were sometimes offensive to, the established religious order of the day. It has been said that if Jesus appeared on the news today, it would be as a troublemaker. He certainly did not make many friends as a preacher. Jesus lived an offensive lifestyle and alienated many people. He associated with the despised and rejected: Tax collectors, prostitutes, and the band of fishermen He had as disciples. Jesus was a poor, rural person in a land run by wealthy urbanites. Yes, class discrimination was alive and well in the first century also.

People like to make lists of those contemporary persons who didn’t write about Jesus, but let’s examine the most commonly referred to, shall we?

  • Josephus – Josephus was not a contemporary historian. He was born in the year 37 C.E., several years after Jesus’ alleged death. There is no way he could have known about Jesus from his own personal experience. At best, he could have recorded the activities of the new cult of Christianity, and what they said about their crucified leader. 
  • Seneca – this teacher of Nero’s wrote a number of personal epistles and other works. Seneca may have conceivably had reason to refer to Jesus. But considering his personal troubles with Nero, it is doubtful that he would have had the interest or the time to do any work on the subject, and none of the works he wrote would have had the occasion to include Jesus. “His Epistolae morales ad Lucilium are essays on ethics written for his friend Lucilius Junior, to whom he also addressed Quaestiones naturales, philosophical-rather than scientific-remarks about natural phenomena. The so-called Dialogi of Seneca include essays on anger, on divine providence, on Stoic impassivity, and on peace of soul. Other moral essays have also survived, notably De elementia, on the duty of a ruler to be merciful, and De beneficiis, on the award and reception of favors. The Apocolocyntosis is a satire on the apotheosis of Claudius. The most influential of his works, at least in so far as European literature is concerned, were his tragedies. It is generally agreed that his plays were written for recitation and not for stage performance. Nine plays, based on Greek models, are accepted as his-Hercules Furens, Medea, Troades, Phaedra, Agamemnon, Oedipus, Hercules Oetaeus, Phoenissae, and Thyestes. A tenth, Octavia, is now ascribed to a later imitator.”
  • Pliny the Elder – Pliny the Elder was a writer on science and morality issues; none of his writings would have had a reason to refer to Jesus.
  • Juvenal – this was a writer of satires. He is known chiefly for his 16 satires, which contain a vivid representation of life in Rome under the empire. They were probably written in the years between A.D. 100 and A.D. 128. The biting tone of his diatribes has seldom been equaled. From the stern point of view of the older Roman standards he powerfully denounces the lax and luxurious society, the brutal tyranny, the affectations and immorality of women, and the criminal excesses of Romans as he saw them, especially in his earlier years. We would no more expect a mention of Jesus here than we would expect in your average edition of MAD magazine.
  • Martial – this was a writer of poetry and satire also. How would Jesus find a place here?
  • Arrian – this guy lived in the second century, and wrote works concerned with Alexander the Great! That’s 300 years before Jesus, quite a stretch for a mention.
  • Petronius – this was a writer of a novel called the Satyricon. “Among the surviving fragments, the most complete and valuable section is the Cena Trimalchionis (Trimalchio’s Dinner), presenting a humorous episode of vulgar display on the part of a man whose great wealth is newly acquired.”
  • Dion Prusaeus – this guy was an orator, a specialist in speaking skills. Do books on public speaking today go off-topic to mention Jesus?
  • Paterculus — Authored an amateurish history of Rome. Paterculus was a retired army officer of Tiberius. He published in 30 A.D., just when Jesus was getting started in His ministry. Jesus never set foot in Rome, so it is hard to see where he would fit in Paterculus’ works.
  • Appian – a Roman historian of the second century who wrote a history of Roman conquests from the founding of Rome to Trajan; only about half of his books have survived fully intact. Again, Jesus didn’t lead any Roman armies, so where would he fit here?
  • Theon of Smyrna – a mathematician and astronomer who wrote a “handbook for philosophy students to show how prime numbers, geometrical numbers such as squares, progressions, music, and astronomy are interrelated.” No relation to anything to do with Jesus.
  • Persius – we have only a few lines from this fellow, who was a satirist who wrote six plays that we know of. Like the previous satirists, there is no reason for Jesus to be mentioned.
  • Plutarch – this fellow wrote a large number of essays and mini-biographies. He lived until around 120 AD and of all the people on this list other than Philo and Justus, would have been the likeliest to mention Jesus. However, in light of the considerations noted above, and the bigotry of Romans towards superstitious peoples like the Jews and Egyptians, it seems unlikely that Plutarch would have put Jesus in his roster of Greco-Roman heroes.
  • Justus
  • Apollonius – There were, at this time over a half dozen men with this name; it is not clear which one these list-makers refer to, so a comment is not possible. The closest match is a grammarian and linguist from the 2nd century.
  • Quintillian – this fellow was a writer on oratory and rhetoric. Again, where is there room for mentioning Jesus, in what was essentially a how-to manual of public speaking?
  • Lucanus – Seneca’s nephew, all we have by him is one poem and some books recording the civil war between Pompey and Caesar. Where should Jesus have been worked into it?
  • Epictetus – He wrote nothing — all his teachings were set down by a disciple. But all his stuff is self-help and advice material — no reason to mention Jesus.
  • Silius Italicus – a poet who wrote a big poem about the second Punic War. This was far from Jesus’ time.
  • Statius – a poet who wrote the Thebaid, about the Seven against Thebes, the Achilleid, a life of Achilles, and a collection of poems called the Silvae. I see no reason to mention Jesus.
  • Ptolemy – another astronomer and mathematician who lived in the second century. I might suppose some Skeptics want a mention of the Star of Bethlehem, but if as I suppose it was mostly a natural phenomenon interpreted by the magi astrologically, Ptolemy may have mentioned it, but would hardly have connected it to Jesus — even if he knew that connection Christians made, which he would have dismissed as superstitious nonsense; it would need to be shown that Ptolemy also had an interest in things like astrology and omens from other nations.
  • Hermogenes – the only person I have found by this name was a second-century Stoic painter whose material was addressed by Tertullian. He would hardly have cause to mention Jesus.
  • Valerius Maximus – wrote a book of anecdotes for orators around 30 AD. In other words, the ancient equivalent to one of those desktop Dilbert calendars. Where does Jesus belong in this?
  • Pompon Mela – Pomponius Mela was a Roman geographer from Spain and would have no reason to mention Jesus.
  • Quintius Curtius – this fellow wrote a history of Alexander the Great — again, where would Jesus fit into this?
  • Pausanias – a Greek traveler and geographer of the second century who wrote a ten-volume work called Descriptions of Greece. Jesus never set foot in Greece, so why would he be mentioned?
  • Valerius Flaccus – a poet of the first century who wrote a work called the Argonautica telling of Jason’s quest for the golden fleece. Does Jesus fit into this one? No.
  • Florus Lucius – Roman historian who was interested in dates prior to the birth of Christ. No help here.
  • Favorinus – a skeptical philosopher of the second century who wrote works of rhetoric. As with the other such works above, no reason to mention Jesus here.
  • Phaedrus – this fellow was an author of fables (like Aesop’s). He would no more mention Jesus than would the Grimm Brothers.
  • Damis – wrote the biography of Apollonius of Tyana — he lived in the second century and doesn’t mention Jesus, most likely because he has his own man to promote.
  • Aulus Gellius – a second-century lawyer who put together a collection of essays on law, antiquities, and various other subjects. No room for Jesus here.
  • Columella – this fellow wrote about agriculture and trees. Ditto.
  • Dio Chrysostom – an orator of the second century who wrote eighty orations on literary, political, and philosophical subjects. I see no room for a mention of Jesus here.
  • Lysias – the only person by this name that was ever historically mentioned lived c. 400-300 BC.
  • Appion of Alexandria — a second-century historian who wrote a history of Rome in 24 books. Again, Jesus had no part in Rome’s history, so why should he be mentioned here?

In almost all of the above-mentioned cases, the supposedly silent writers are either the sort who would not mention Jesus anyway (being writers of either fiction, poetry, or on mundane and practical matters like oratory and agriculture, or historians or writers of another time or place). The few leftover, like Plutarch or Tacitus, either did mention Jesus or else would be too bigoted to make the special diversion, unless (as with Tacitus) they had some corollary reason to look into the movement (Tacitus was trying to show Nero’s cruelty). David Dickens attributes much of this to the “Selection Bias”, meaning that if some contemporary of Christ had something authentic to say about Christ, the Christians collected it. Therefore, finding non-Christian sources about Christ would only be possible in so far as you find corruptions that were discarded (and plenty were) or sources that somehow Christians of that time “missed” but were still otherwise preserved to this day. He states that even at first glance, the chance of finding any such materials is mathematically zero. It seems unreasonable then to discredit the Christian claim on the basis that something that is (for all practical purposes) defined in such a way as it cannot exist, ought to exist to satisfy the prejudices of a people and culture far removed from the one being examined.

Now consider those that DID write about Jesus or about his followers in the years closely following his life and death:

  • Tacitus in his Annals (c.115 A.D.) mentions that Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate and gives detailed descriptions of Nero’s persecutions – which are also alluded to in several places in the New Testament. 
  • The correspondence between Pliny the Younger and the Roman Emperor Trajan (98-117 A.D.) corroborates the New Testament history including the persecution of the Christians under Emperor Nero.
  • Pliny the Younger – Pliny was the governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. Much of his correspondence has survived including a particular letter written circa AD 112 to the Roman emperor Trajan. This letter does not reference Christ directly, but it does establish several beliefs and practices of early Christians. This includes their loyalty to Christ even when it cost them their lives. Pliny’s letter states: “In the meantime, the method I have observed towards those who have been denounced to me as Christians is this: I interrogated them whether they were, in fact, Christians; if they confessed it, I repeated the question twice, adding the threat of capital punishment; if they still persevered, I ordered them to be executed. “…They affirmed, however, that the whole of their guilt, or their error, was that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to perform any wicked deed, never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to make it good; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food – but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”
  • Cornelius Tacitus – Tacitus was a senator under Emperor Vespasian and later became governor of Asia. Around AD 116 in his work entitled Annals, he wrote of Emperor Nero and a fire which had swept Rome in AD 64: “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome…”
  • Tranquillus Suetonius was a chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian writing around AD 120 in his work Life of Claudius: “Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from the city.”
  • Lucian – The Greek satirist, wrote this rather scathing attack in The Death of Peregrine circa AD 170: “The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites and was crucified on that account… You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed upon them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws.”
  • Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a includes: “On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu. And an announcer went out, in front of him, for forty days (saying): ‘He is going to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and enticed and led Israel astray. Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and plead on his behalf.’ But, not having found anything in his favor, they hanged him on the eve of the Passover. “The facts in this passage are somewhat difficult to assimilate. Although Yeshu is referring to Jesus, the announcement that he was to be stoned (a lethal punishment) is followed by the statement that he was hanged (crucified). One possible explanation is that the Jewish leadership’s call for his stoning preceded his eventual arrest by at least those forty days. This would be consistent with Scripture’s accounts of his numerous near-stonings (John 10:31-33, 11:8 ). “Jesus’ death by crucifixion may have then just been a matter of Roman involvement in the affair. Perhaps it is more likely that his sudden crucifixion (which immediately followed his arrest and dubious midnight trial) was gladly allowed by the Jewish leaders to pre-empt the normal forty-day holding period for a condemned man. The leaders may have feared that, during this time, Jesus’ followers might have been able to organize his release or stir up an outcry against them.”
  • Thallus the Samaritan – One of the first Gentile writers who mentions Christ is Thallus, who wrote in A.D. 52. However, his writings have disappeared and we only know of them from fragments cited by other writers. One such writer is Julius Africanus, a Christian writer about A.D. 221. One very interesting passage relates to a comment from Thallus. Julius Africanus writes: “Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun -unreasonably, as it seems to me” (unreasonably, of course, because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was the season of the Paschal full moon that Christ died).” Thus, from this reference, we see that the Gospel account of the darkness which fell upon the land during Christ’s crucifixion was well known and required a naturalistic explanation from those non-believers who witnessed it.
  • Phlegon – His Chronicles have been lost, but a small fragment of that work, which confirms the darkness upon the earth at the crucifixion, is also mentioned by Julius Africanus. After his (Africanus’) remarks about Thallus’ unreasonable opinion of the darkness, he quotes Phlegon that “during the time of Tiberius Caesar an eclipse of the sun occurred during the full moon.” Phlegon is also mentioned by Origen in Contra Celsum, Book 2, sections 14, 33, 59. Philopon [De. opif mund. 11 211 says: “And about this darkness … Phlegon recalls it in the Olyinpiads [the title of his history].” He says that “Phlegon mentioned the eclipse which took place during the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, and no other [eclipse], it is clear that he did not know from his sources about any [similar] eclipse in previous times … and this is shown by the historical account itself of Tiberius Caesar.”
  • The Letter of Mara Bar Serapion is in the British Museum an interesting manuscript preserving the text of a letter written sometime later than A.D. 73. This letter was sent by a Syrian named Mara Bar-Serapion to his son Serapion. He compares the deaths of Socrates, Pythagoras, and Christ. “What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crimes. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; He lived on in the teaching which He had given.”

And of course, the obvious Christian sources from the same era:

  • Clement (A.D. c. 30-100) the Bishop of Rome 
  • The writer of the Epistle of Barnabas (A.D. c. 70-130) 
  • Polycarp (A.D. 70-155) the Bishop of Smyrna, a student of the Apostle John 
  • Ignatius (A.D. 35-110) the Bishop of Antioch quotes from 16 New Testament books. 
  • Irenaeus (A.D. 130 -200) the second century Bishop of Lyons makes 1,819 references to New Testament scriptures. 
  • Tertullian (A.D. 160 -220) the second-century apologist quotes from the New Testament 7,258 times. 
  • Clement (A.D. 150 -215) the second century Bishop of Alexandria
  • The Didache, a late first-century catechism, quotes extensively from the New Testament. 

There are even a few less-known works which were written in the era in which Jesus lived, that are often overlooked:

  • Gundaphores – The Acts of Thomas is an early 3rd Century Gnostic text which survives to this day in both Greek and Syriac versions. Although it is not disputed that the Acts was originally written in Aramaic, the Syriac versions which now exist are believed to be translated from the Greek in the 5th Century and expunged of some of the more extreme Gnostic ideology contained in the Greek text. The Roman Catholic Church officially condemned the Acts of Thomas as heretical at the Council of Trent (16th Century). It focuses on celibacy, even in the context of marriage, and it’s use of allegory, rather than direct representation, clearly places its origins in the realm of Gnosticism. Like so many other Gnostic books, it was overlooked by the mainstream of Christian thought for many hundreds of years.
  • The Letter to Agbar – This letter is a letter that radio-carbon dating has placed in the early first century. The text of the letter varies. The less available variant, transcribed from the Doctrina Addaei, and printed in the Catholic Encyclopedia 1908, is: “Abgar Ouchama to Jesus, the Good Physician Who has appeared in the country of Jerusalem, greeting: “I have heard of Thee, and of Thy healing; that Thou dost not use medicines or roots, but by Thy word openest (the eyes) of the blind, makest the lame to walk, cleansest the lepers, makest the deaf to hear; how by Thy word (also) Thou healest (sick) spirits and those who are tormented with lunatic demons, and how, again, Thou raisest the dead to life. And, learning the wonders that Thou doest, it was borne in upon me that (of two things, one): either Thou hast come down from heaven, or else Thou art the Son of God, who bringest all these things to pass. Wherefore I write to Thee and pray that thou wilt come to me, who adore Thee, and heal all the ill that I suffer, according to the faith I have in Thee. I also learn that the Jews murmur against Thee, and persecute Thee, that they seek to crucify Thee and to destroy Thee. I possess but one small city, but it is beautiful and large enough for us two to live in peace.” The Doctrina then continues: When Jesus had received the letter, in the house of the high priest of the Jews, He said to Hannan†, the secretary, “Go thou, and say to thy master, who hath sent thee to Me: ‘Happy art thou who hast believed in Me, not having seen Me, for it is written of Me that those who shall see Me shall not believe in Me and that those who shall not see Me shall believe in Me. As to that which thou hast written, that I should come to thee, (behold) all that for which I was sent here below is finished, and I ascend again to My Father who sent Me, and when I shall have ascended to Him I will send thee one of My disciples, who shall heal all thy sufferings, and shall give (thee) health again, and shall convert all who are with thee unto life eternal. And thy city shall be blessed forever, and the enemy shall never overcome it.'” (†According to Eusebius, Jesus himself wrote the letter; nothing is mentioned of his having dictated it to Hannan.)
  • The Mandylion – The Mandylion is without question the most well-researched artifact in the history of the human race. It has been examined by literally thousands of scientists, undergone thousands of tests and scientific analyses of every imaginable kind, and yet nobody has been able to successfully disprove its reputation as the burial shroud of Jesus. Nobody even has a working scientific theory as to how it could have been created if, in fact, it is a forgery as many skeptics claim.
  • Tacitus on Jesus – The Roman historian and senator Tacitus referred to Christ, his execution by Pontius Pilate and the existence of early Christians in Rome in his final work, Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44.

From these writers, we know the following about the man, Jesus:

  •  Jesus was a wise man and was called the Christ or Messiah – Josephus
  •  Jesus gained many disciples from many nations – Josephus 
  •  He healed blind and lame people in Bethsaida and Bethany – Julian the Apostate
  •  He was accused of practicing sorcery and leading Israel astray – the Talmud 
  •  Under Herod, and during the reign of Tiberius, Pontius Pilate condemned Christ to die – Tacitus 
  •  Christ was crucified on the eve of Passover – the Talmud 
  •  His crucifixion was accompanied by three hours of unexplained darkness – Thallus 
  •  Christ’s disciples, “reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive” – Josephus 
  •  His disciples took to the habit of meeting on a fixed day of the week and took their name “Christians” from him – Pliny 
  •  They gave worship to Christ “as to a god” – Pliny
  •  They bound themselves over to abstaining from wicked deeds, fraud, theft, adultery, and lying – Pliny 
  •  Christians held a contempt for death and were known for a voluntary self-devotion – Lucian 
  •  Christians believed themselves all brothers from the moment of their conversion – Lucian 
  •  Christians lived after Christ’s laws – Lucian 
  •  Christians were willingly tortured and even executed for their refusal to deny their belief in the resurrection and deity of Jesus Christ – Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny, Lucian

My challenge to Skeptics: Show me why each of these writers who were “silent on the matter” should have mentioned Jesus, as well as why hundreds of thousands of persons went happily to their martyrdom (a fact corroborated by Roman historians) for the love of the man Jesus, if they, his contemporaries, knew him not to have existed?

Now, let us consider, what is; perhaps, the most looked to source for the personhood of Jesus. The Bible.

  • New Testament – As of this moment, the oldest New Testament ever found was written in the Ge’ez language, probably translated from Aramaic in the beginning of the 2nd Century, not more than 100 years after Jesus’ death on the cross at Golgotha mentioned by Tacitus. Such a large corpus of literature, written across such a large portion of land with portions having been found from that era in Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, Ge’ez, Coptic, and many others, all saying (with the exception of a few words from translation) the same exact thing about the same exact person…

The Enlightenment was a time of great change in Europe. As people got more and more access to information and ideas they began to question whether or not the stories being told them were real. Many Europeans, like so many rebellious teenagers, decided that rather than having faith in what previous generations had known before them, they would live by their own ideas and jump to their own conclusions about what was true and what we’re merely fanciful myths. This, of course, meant calling the Biblical narrative into question. Since that time many generations of European scholars and the Eurocentric colonials who have succeeded them have pointed to the lack of evidence that existed in their age and claimed that the absence of evidence was evidence of absence.  Of course it later turned out that there was no lack of evidence for the Bible stories or for the existence of Jesus as a historical person, and that the Enlightenment scholars and liberals who came after them were, as in so much else, intentionally misconstruing the information they gained in order to wage political war against the Church. In our own time, these political movements have too much invested in their current ideologies to change them en masse. Instead, we must focus on educating individual souls by changing the narrative in which Christianity is understood and discussed in the wider pop-culture.

Christianity is the only religion whose Holy Scriptures are historically real. The Bhagavad Gita is not a true story about anything historical and doesn’t even pretend to be. Instead, it is a story about mythical gods and their lives in another world… The Quran is not a history book, and no Islamic scholar claims that it is. Some people claim erroneously that Christianity is merely a tool for manipulating the masses, and has no real historical backing; that the stories in the Bible are not true, and that the Biblical books themselves are made up, pious mythology and fairy tales. However, an even cursory examination of the Biblical archaeology proves this not to be the case. In fact, the Bible, more than any other book in human history, has preserved a series of historical snapshots that have proven to be invaluable tools for understanding our very real human legacy, validated every step of the way through archaeology and independent studies.

Science really is on the Bible’s side when it comes to confirming history. The “Age of Reason” was actually an age of disbelief, where it was thought that ‘reasonable’ people believed only in those things that they could ‘prove’, and that everything else was therefore lying. The false concept of Evolutionary biology taught that human beings, like all other species, were ‘evolving’ away from a past in which they were less intelligent, less able; and therefore the farther back in history one went, the less knowledgeable people could be, since evolution only moves forward. This meant that the “most advanced” men were those who lived in the here and now – and since the Bible was written a long-long-time ago, it must have been written by people who were less evolved, and therefore had nothing to offer in the way of ‘truth’ or ‘science’ or ‘reality’… In this way, it was thought, Evolution ran counter to religion, and both science and religion stood diabolically opposed. Nothing could be farther from the truth however, as the very real science of Biblical archaeology was to progress. Now all of the old ideas from the “Age of Reason” are gone, many disproved, by the very science that sought to prove them. But the Bible remains, just as powerful a force for history and truth as before the secularists took up trying to disprove it. Maybe more now, since we have the ability to verify it’s historical truths.

  • The Ebla Tablet – Well, the discovery of the Ebla archive in northern Syria in the 1970′s has confirmed that the Biblical writings concerning the Patriarchs are viable. During the excavations of the palace in 1975, the excavators found a large library (in a royal archive room), filled with tablets dating from 2400 -2300 BC. Nearly 15,000 tablets and fragments were found, but when joined together they account for about 2,500 tablets. These tablets demonstrate that personal and location titles in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. For years, critics said that the name ‘Canaan’ was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the Bible; that the term was never used at this time in history, proving that it was a late insertion and that the earliest books were not written in the times that are described. But in the Ebla tablets, the word “Canaan” does appear, contrary to the critics’ claim. The tablets proved that the term was actually used in ancient Syria during the time in which the Old Testament was written. In addition, critics also claimed that the word ‘Tehom’ (‘the deep’ in Genesis 1:2) was a late addition demonstrating the late writing of the creation story. But ‘Tehom’ was part of the vocabulary at Ebla as well, in use some 800 years before Moses! In fact, there is a creation record in the Ebla Tablets that is remarkably similar to the Genesis account! In addition, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (once thought to be pure fiction) are also identified in the Ebla tablets, as well as the city of Haran. This latter city is described in Genesis as the city of Abram’s father, Terah. Prior to this discovery, ‘scholars’ doubted the presence of the ancient city. The Ebla discovery bolstered the Biblical account and it did this in several ways. First, it confirmed the locations of several ancient cities that had long been doubted. In addition to this, however, it confirmed the use of several terms and names hat had also been doubted. And finally, it confirmed that ancient people living in the city of Ebla, (only 150 miles from Haran) were eloquent and conscientious historians and authors. Critics had argued that ancient people of this time were NOT capable of intricate and detailed record-keeping, but the Ebla Tablets prove otherwise. It is well within reason to believe that Abraham recorded detailed accounts of his life and his family and that these records were used later by Moses to write the account we presently have in the Book of Genesis.
  • NebuSakim Tablet – Nebu-Sakim, was thought to be “mythical”, until in July 2007, when Professor Michael Jursa of the University of Vienna discovered the name of Nebu-Sakim (נְב֞וּ סְכִ֣ים) written in cuneiform on an Assyrian tablet during the tenth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (i.e. 595 B.C.), which confirmed the delivery of 0.75kg of gold to a Babylonian temple, thus providing independent proof that this Biblical character really lived and was, in fact, the “chief eunuch” of Nebuchadnezzar II who Jeremiah 39:3 says was with him at his successful Siege of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.
  • King Sargon – Although the name of Sargon only occurs once in the Bible, at Isaiah 20:1, there are a number of other references referring to him. (Burrows) Up until the mid 19th Century, no corroborating evidence had been found to confirm his existence, and some critics and historians doubted ever really lived. (Free) But archeology once again proved the Biblical account to be true when in 1843, the palace of Sargon was found during an archaeological dig at Khorsabad, a ruin about 16 kilometers north of Nineveh. (Wood) A find which now represents the greatest Akkadian art of all time. Not only was King Sargon real as Isaiah claims, but his palace was found exactly where the Bible described it, his capture of Ashdod, and the correct title of Sargon’s military commander on a giant stone prism, which archeologists discovered in 1847, which dates back to the 8th century BC reading in part: Property of Sargon, King of Assyria, conqueror of Samaria and of the entire country of Israel (Bit-Hu-um-ria) who despoiled Ashdod and Shinuthi, who caught the Greeks (who live on islands) in the sea, like fish, exterminated Kasku, all Tabali and Cilicia, who chased away Midas the king of Mushku, who defeated Musur in Rapihu, who declared Hamno, king of Gaza, as booty, who subdued the seven kings of the country of YAH, a district on Cypris (Ia-ad-na-na), who dwell (on an island) in the sea, at a distance of seven-days journey…(Pritchard)
  • Belshazzar – According to chapters 5 and 8 of the book of Daniel, Belshazzar was the son and regent of King Nabonidus. Daniel was often criticized for being what detractors said was its less-than-accurate portrayal of history. This is because of the ancient historians who wrote on the subject (Herodotus, Berosus, Abydenus, Ptolemy, Josephus, and Theodoret), all say that the last king of Babylon was Nabonidus, who was a son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar rather than Belshazzar. However in 1854 the British archaeologist John George Taylor Nabonidus discovered four identical cylinders at the base of a Ziggurat in Ur in (Beaulieu), which recorded the life of King Nabonidus, who served as regent of his father Nabonidus. The cylinder reads in part: May it be that I, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, never fail you. And may my firstborn, Belshazzar, worship you with all his heart. (Cylinder iii 3:31)
  • City of David – The historical existence of the City of David was doubted by many scholars, but the remains of the City of David were uncovered in the Givati Parking Lot within Jerusalem’s oldest neighborhood, which is coincidentally also named the “City of David”. The discovery was announced by the Israeli Antiquities Authority in late November 2013.
  • Roman Era Dies – Israeli archaeologists have uncovered three rare, Roman-era fabrics believed to have been dyed using murex snail extracts in unique colors mentioned in the Bible. Israel Antiquities Authority researchers say they have identified three pieces of cloth dyed in colors considered the most valued at the time, including special shades of blue, purple and crimson-scarlet — colors cited in scripture.
  • Tacitus on Jesus – The Roman historian and senator Tacitus referred to Christ, his execution by Pontius Pilate and the existence of early Christians in Rome in his final work, Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44.
  • The Census – The first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke indicate the birth of Jesus took place at the time of the census: In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. (Luke 2:1–7—NRSV) The passage describes how Jesus’ parents, Joseph and Mary, travel from their home in Nazareth, in Galilee, to Bethlehem, where Jesus is born. This explains how Jesus, a Galilean, could have been born in Bethlehem in Judea, the city of King David. However, this passage has long been considered problematic by Biblical scholars, since it places the birth of Jesus around the time of the census in 6/7 The Jewish historian Josephus agrees with the account of the Census of Quirinius  found in the Gospel of Luke, that an enrollment of the Roman provinces of Syria and Judaea for tax purposes was undertaken in the year 6/7 A.D., during the reign of Caesar Augustus (27 BCE – CE 14). (Source: Vermes)
  • The Resurrection Narrative – The fact that neutron emissions are the first plausible explanation for how the face got on the Shroud, indicates the validity of the Resurrection narrative. There are two possibilities for how a directed neutron beam could have come to have been applied to the cloth… (1.) The Biblical narrative of the Resurrection is real history; or (2.) Someone with access to such technology traveled back through time in a time machine in order to create the proof of the Resurrection to make it look “real” for future generations… Which is more realistic?
  • Saint Thomas – Nothing proves the necessity of the historical existence of Jesus more than His disciple, Saint Thomas, who was martyred in what is now Tamil Nadu in 64 A.D, only thirty-two years after the Resurrection; but whose missionary work in that short period of time spanned most of Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The fact that Saint Thomas visited China is now no longer in dispute. He is also known to have traveled to India, where he founded eight churches, all. If Thomas were not the disciple of Jesus, then his visits to these places would not have a real or lasting significance, and certainly not the significance that it now has. If he had been instead, a traveling salesman, there would not now be mountains named after him in Korea, wells named after him in Japan, and Chinese imperial annals extolling his great influence within the imperial court of that august nation.

There is no other holy book, regarded by another religion, extant on the Earth today, which offers historical proofs of what it says. This overarching “reality” and “truth” are utterly unique to the Judeo-Christian faith. The Popul Vue of the Mayans does not offer any historical information at all but does offer a nifty explanation of why humans can eat animals. The Bhagavad Gita tells many fabulous tales of mythological things that occur in “heavens” and in other “realms” but offers nothing whatsoever as far as the history of Earth or civilization. The stories of the Quran have historical evidence, only where they agree with the Bible in matters of historicity – and Islam forbids textual criticism of the Quran, which by definition limits the ability to study its historicity. This is because Muslims believe that the Quran was dictated directly to Muhammad by Allah, and then recited (Aramaic “Qurin” means “to recite”) to his disciples who later wrote it down. Taking the historical evidence which does exist, in context, one can see that it is more likely than not that Jesus was alive on the Earth and was a real person. The fact that we’re still talking about Him makes Him the most important religious figure in history.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aside from the sources mentioned along with the historians and historical personalities previously discussed, below are articles, videos, and books which were referred to for this compilation:

Paul-Alain Beaulieu, Legal and Administrative Texts from the Reign of Nabonidus, Yale University Press, 2000, ISBN: 9780300057706

Boniface, The Belshazzar Problem, Unam Sanctam Catholicam, retrieved on February 23rd, 2014 from http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/history/historical-apologetics/79-history/402-the-belshazzar-problem.html

Millar Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Random House Value Publishing, 1988, ISBN 0517625350

Joseph P. Free, Archaeology and Bible History, Zondervan, Revised edition, 1992 ISBN 0310479614

Megan Gannon, Discovery of City of David ruins fills gap in Jerusalem history, published December 3rd, 2013, 11:29 and retrieved on February 18th, 2014 from: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/discovery-city-david-ruins-fills-gap-jerusalem-history-2D11687560

John D. Morris, 2007. Biblical Myths? Acts & Facts, Institute for Creation Research, 36 (9):14, retrieved on February 18th, 2014 from http://www.icr.org/articles/view/3464/303/

James Pritchard, The Ancient Near East – An Anthology of Texts and Pictures, Princeton University Press 1958.

Bryant Wood, The Old Testament Has Been Archaeologically Verified, pleaseconvinceme.com, retrieved on February 18th, 2014 from: http://pleaseconvinceme.com/2012/the-old-testament-has-been-archaeologically-verified/

Geza Vermes, Emil Schürer, Fergus Millar (editors), The history of the Jewish people in the age of Jesus Christ Vol I, Continuum, 1973.

Hamza Yusuf, Signs of the Last Day, Dar al Islam Teacher’s Institute, Abiquiu, New Mexico, retrieved on May 1st, 2014 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=in5kC5qFjm4&feature=youtu.be

Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44. (P.E. Easterling, E. J. Kenney (general editors), The Cambridge History of Latin Literature, page 892 (Cambridge University Press, 1982, reprinted 1996). ISBN 0-521-21043-7) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ

Scientists discover Roman era dies, retrieved from: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/12/31/archaeologists-make-incredibly-rare-find-with-roots-in-the-bible/

Proof of the historicity of Biblical figures, retrieved from: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-in-the-bible-confirmed-archaeologically/

CREDITS

Contributions from friends are VERY appreciated and help to make this complete work possible.

1. David Dickens (Detailing the “Selection Bias” in light of Christian history.)

Back to the basics of the Faith

This list is not all-inclusive…  I have selected only the most commonly known verses to remind the faithful.  Too many know but do not do.  This list of verses will bear witness against all of us.  George Lucas writes, through the persona of Yoda, “Do or do not.  There is no try.”.  I offer you the same advice today.  You are a follower of Christ or you are not.  There is no middle ground.  And a follower of Christ is known by their “fruits” (Matt. 7:20)  Christ tells us that every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matt. 3:10, Matt. 7:19, Luke 3:9)  Notice that He does not say every tree that does not bear any fruit… no, he says every tree that does not bear GOOD fruit!!!  I challenge you all to make it your goal to choose to do one of the following EVERY DAY:

  1. Help the oppressed
  2. Feed the hungry
  3. Clothe the naked
  4. Care for the widow and the orphan
  5. Care for the sick
  6. Help the stranger
  7. Visit the imprisoned
  8. Be kind to your neighbor (Yes, that means EVERYONE)
  9. Do good to a fellow believer

Pick just one, and add it to loving the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind.  This is spiritual fasting and is accepted before the Heavenly Throne more readily than any physical discomfort that you may cause yourself by abstaining from food.  In choosing to make one of these a part of your day, you will bring yourself one step closer to holiness!

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” – Isaiah 58:6-10

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” – Matthew 25:31-46

“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life? What is written in the Law? he replied. How do you read it? He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live. But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply, Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” – Luke 10:25-37

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” – Galatians 6:10

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27

Against The Sola Scriptura of the Protestants

The Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura is not biblical, and thus, by its own argument, completely irrelevant. The writings of the Church Fathers and the councils, both regional and ecumenical, reveal that sola scriptura was completely alien to the thought and life of the early Church. ‘I praise you, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I handed them on to you,’ and Hold fast to the traditions that you were taught whether by an oral statement or by a letter of ours’.   I know what most Protestants will immediately think, more as a knee jerk reaction than an educated statement… “But that’s not in the Bible” is an overused argument, by those that claim to follow the Bible fully, but conveniently overlook all of the following:

Scripture never says that Scripture is the sole infallible authority for God’s Word. Matt. 28:20 – “observe ALL I have commanded,” but, as we see in John 20:30; 21:25, not ALL Jesus taught is in Scripture. So there must be things outside of Scripture that we must observe. Mark 16:15 – Jesus commands the apostles to “preach,” not write, and only three apostles wrote. The others who did not write were not less faithful to Jesus, because Jesus gave them no directive to write. Luke 1:1-4 – Luke acknowledges that the faithful have already received the teachings of Christ, and is writing his Gospel only so that they “realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.” John 20:30; 21:25 – Jesus did many other things not written in the Scriptures. These have been preserved through the oral apostolic tradition and they are equally a part of the Deposit of Faith. Acts 8:30-31; Heb. 5:12 – these verses show that we need help in interpreting the Scriptures. We cannot interpret them infallibly on our own. We need divinely appointed leadership within the Church to teach us. Acts 15:1-14 – Peter resolves the Church’s first doctrinal issue regarding circumcision without referring to Scriptures. Acts 17:28 – Paul quotes the writings of the pagan poets when he taught at the Aeropagus. Thus, Paul appeals to sources outside of Scripture to teach about God. 1 Cor. 5:9-11 – this verse shows that a prior letter written to Corinth is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon. 1 Cor. 11:2 – Paul commends the faithful to obey apostolic tradition and not Scripture alone. Phil. 4:9 – Paul says that what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do. There is nothing ever about obeying Scripture alone. Col. 4:16 – this verse shows that a prior letter written to Laodicea is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon. 1 Thess. 2:13 – Paul says, “when you received the word of God, which you heard from us. 1 Thess. 3:10 – Paul wants to see the Thessalonians face to face and supply what is lacking. His letter is not enough. 2 Thess. 2:15 – the fullness of the Gospel is the apostolic tradition which includes either teaching by word of mouth or by letter. Scripture does not say “letter alone.” 2 Thess 3:6 – Paul instructs us to obey apostolic tradition. 1 Tim. 3:14-15 – Paul prefers to speak and not write, and is writing only in the event that he is delayed and cannot be with Timothy. 2 Tim. 2:2 – Paul says apostolic tradition is passed on to future generations. 2 Tim. 3:14 – continue in what you have learned and believed knowing from whom you learned it. James 4:5 – James even appeals to Scripture outside of the Old Testament canon.

To avoid falling into the same trap of using only scripture in an effort to disprove sola scriptura, I have compiled a few patristic quotes as evidence on the subject of scriptural authority. A favorite quote of a Church Father by Protestants, is the following from Basil of Cesarea: Therefore, let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the Word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth” However, if we are to use this as an argument for the Protestant cause, we must first prove that this is not taken out of context by comparing this quote with other writings of Basil. Here is where the argument fails… “Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or enjoined which are preserved in the Church, some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have delivered to us in a mystery by the apostles by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force” (On the Holy Spirit, 27). Here, we see Basil of Cesarea blatantly state that the tradition of the elders carries the same weight as that of the Biblical canon. Another favorite seems to be Saint Athanasius: “The holy and inspired Scriptures are sufficient of themselves for the preaching of the truth” (Contra Gentiles 1:1), as well as “These books [of canonical Scripture] are the fountains of salvation, so that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the oracles contained in them. In these alone, the school of piety preaches the Gospel. Let no man add to these or take away from them” (39th Festal Letter). The problem with using only these two quotes from the body of Athanasius’ writings is that in the first quote, the saint was instructing his flock as to what could and could not be read at Church as “Scripture.” The second quote falls apart with the following quote, also from the Saint: “The very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning was preached by the apostles and preserved by the Fathers. On this the Church was founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian” (Ad Serapion 1:28) Again, the saint clearly demonstrates a belief in, and reliance upon sacred tradition. As far as the quotes of Saint Cyril, favored by Protestants, I won’t bother to quote them because Saint Cyril also wrote on infallible teaching office of the Catholic Church (18:23), the Mass as a sacrifice (23:6-8), the concept of purgatory and the efficacy of expiatory prayers for the dead (23:10), the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (19:7; 21:3; 22:1-9), the theology of sacraments (1:3), the intercession of the saints (23:9), holy orders (23:2), the importance of frequent Communion (23:23), baptismal regeneration (1:1-3; 3:10-12; 21:3-4), all of which are specifically “Catholic” doctrines. Thus, to select a small quote that aides in the Protestant purpose and reject the full body of writings which specifically promote the teachings of the Catholic Church and promote the tradition of the apostles is in itself, a fallacy.

Taking this into account, the Protestant doctrine of dismissing the mysteries/sacraments is also faulty.  Interestingly enough, Protestants who claim to follow the scriptures, seem to miss these mysteries/sacraments which are clearly referenced in the Bible, and in their hatred of the Catholic Church from which they themselves were born, have relegated the mysteries/sacraments to idolatrous practice. If the Protestants did, in fact, participate in the mysteries/sacraments, they would no longer be Protestant but would have, in essence, rejoined the body of Christ. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”. Thus, the mysteries/sacraments which were instituted by Christ and His Holy Apostles are not, in any way, something that a Christian can choose to participate in. They are OBLIGATIONS. Therefore, anyone not participating in them has removed themselves from the body of Christ. Re institution of the mysteries/sacraments constitutes rejoining to the body of Christ. Since this goes against Protestant teaching, it stands to reason that any former Protestant who is a practitioner of the Mysteries/Sacraments would no longer be a Protestant at all.  

Baptism. Scripture shows that John’s baptism was a symbol of repentance, but not a sacrament. It did not confer grace. In the Acts, it is clear that those who received Christian baptism also received the Holy Spirit, had their sins forgiven and became members of Christ, and thus of the Church. It is the foundational mystery/sacrament, the only one Philip thought necessary to confer on the Ethiopian eunuch. Matthew 3:16; Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:8; Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 1:4-5; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:16; Acts 8:36-38; Acts 11:16; Acts 16:15; Acts 16:33; Acts 18:8; Acts 19:3-6; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:25-26; Col. 2:12; 1 Peter 3:20-21, and many others.

Confirmation/Chrismation. Completes Baptism by a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit and enables the Christian for mission. This was seen at Pentecost with respect to the apostles. In the early Church, it was often accompanied by charismatic signs, though these are not intrinsic to the mystery/sacrament. Conferred by the laying on of hands. In Acts 19:3-6, especially, it is clear that John’s baptism, Christian baptism, and Confirmation are all distinct realities. Also, in Hebrews 6:2 baptizing and laying on of hands are distinguished. Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 39:29; Joel 2:28; John 14:16; Acts 2:4; Acts 8:14-17; Acts 19:3-6; Hebrews 6:2. 

Eucharist/Communion. The Eucharist is visibly bread and wine but is, in reality, the Body and Blood of Christ. No mere symbols can effect eternal life. And abuse of no mere symbol can be worthy of damnation. In the early centuries, the name of the Mass was the breaking of the bread. Yet, when word got out of what the Eucharist really was the Romans accused Christians of sacrificing babies and cannibalism because they heard they ate human flesh. Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 24:35; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:24-27;

Penance/Reconciliation. Christ gave authority, the keys, to the apostles to forgive sin, to decide between absolving or retaining guilt. This requires “confession” of sins for this judgment not to be arbitrary, hence the popular name of the mystery/sacrament. This authority was passed on to bishops, and from them to priests, with ordination. Matthew 16:19; John 20:21-23; Rev. 1:18.

Anointing of the Sick/Unction. Anointing prepares the person for death, and only incidentally may produce physical healing. The salvation and resurrection spoken of in James are in the first place spiritual. James 5:14-15.

Holy Orders. The threefold division of sacred ministers (bishops, priests and deacons) prefigured in the Old Law (high priest, priests, Levites) is clearly revealed in Scripture. Yet, most so-called “bible-believing” Protestant churches do not have them. Acts 6:3-6; Acts 13:2-3; 1 Tim. 3:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-9; 1 Tim. 4:14; 1 Tim. 4:16; 1 Tim. 5:17-19; 1 Tim. 5:22.

Matrimony/Marriage. Marriage is, as St. Paul states, a mystery (mysterion). The Latin word used to translate mysterion is “sacramentum”. The sacraments are mysteries (as Eastern Christians still call them), for one thing, is visible and something else is known by faith. By faith, matrimony is a sign of Christ and the Church, as well as a special calling. Mt. 19:10-11; Eph. 5:31-32.

Considering what is aforementioned, this arouses a problem of professing to believe what is written, while at the same time, not practicing it.  Most Protestants recognize only the importance of Baptism and of Communion. However, even this is flawed as the lack of belief in transubstantiation renders the Eucharist, from an Orthodox perspective, invalid. Thus, Protestants also do not participate in the mystery/sacrament of communion. Many do not anoint the sick either.  (unless of course, you accept that not believing in the real presence of Christ in the communion host constitutes communion). Furthermore, Protestants are famous for having invented many different formulas for Baptism. In fact, many have even developed the idea that Baptism is not necessary for salvation at all, and do not require Baptism to be considered a Christian.  

One simply cannot call oneself a Christian and not participate in the Mysteries of the faith.  It is not possible in any way, shape or form to be part of the body without participating in and being connected to the lifeblood of the body.  A body part not connected to the blood source, will wither and die, and more importantly, infect and destroy other parts surrounding it. You are either a Christian, or you are not.  And if you are not a member of a Church that celebrates each and every one of the mysteries/sacraments, then you are not of Christ, nor are you in Christ. You are alone, apart from the body, you are the chaff that will be separated from the grain and you will be thrown into the fire.

A Biblical Breakdown of the Creed of Nicaea (Greek Version)

We believe (Rom 10:8-10; 1 Jn 4:15; Heb 11:6) 

in one God, (Deut 6:4, I Cor 8:4-6; Jn 10:30; Eph 4:4-6; Matt. 28:19) 

the Father Sovereign (Mt 6:9; Ex 6:2-3; Rev 1:8, 4:8) 

Maker of heaven and earth, (Gen 1:1; Ex 20:11; Ps 33:6-7) 

and of all things seen and unseen (Col 1:15-16). 

And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, (Jn 10:30; Rom 10:9; Col 2:6; Acts 10:36; Rev 22:20; Matt. 28:19)

the only-begotten Son of God, (Mt 14:33; 16:16; Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 4:15) 

brought forth from His Father before all ages, (Jn 1:2; 1:18; 3:16; 1 Jn 4:9) 

Light out from Light, (Ps 27:1; Jn 8:12, 12:35-36; 1 Jn 1:5-7; Mt 17:2, 5) 

True God out from True God, Begotten, not created, (Jn 5:18, 8:58, 17:1-5) 

One in essence with the Father, (Jn 10:30) 

by Whom all things were made; (Jn 1:3 [Gen 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24, 26; Ps 33:6]; Heb 1:1-2; Col 1:16) 

Who for us men and for our salvation (Mt 1:21; I Tim 2:3-6; 1 Jn 1:8-10, 4:9; Is 53:11) 

came down from heaven (Jn 3:31; 6:33-35; Is 12:2) 

and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, (Lk 1:35, Mt 1:16; Is 7:14)

and was made man; (Jn 1:14) 

and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate (Mt 27:22-26; I Cor 15:3-5; Gal 6:14; Is 53:4-6). 

He suffered and was buried (Mt 27:50-60 [Is 53:9]; Mk 8:31; Lk 23:53).

And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; (Mt 28:5; Lk 24:1-12; Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 15:3-5) 

and ascended into heaven, (Acts 1:9-11; Lk 24:51) 

and sits now at the right hand of the Father. (Mk 16:19; Acts 7:55-56)

And He shall come again with glory (Mt 24:27, 25:31; Acts 1:11; Rev 22:20) 

to judge both the living and dead; (Acts 10:42 [4:12]; 2 Tim 4:1 [Rom 1:16-17, 3:21-26, Gal 2:21]) 

whose dominion shall be without end. (Lk 1:33 [I Cor 15:57]). 

And We believe in the Holy Spirit, (Gen 1:2; Jn 14:26; 1 Tim 1:14; Eph 1:13-14; Matt. 28:19)

the LORD and Life-giver, (Rom 8:2-4; 2 Cor 2:6) 

Who proceeds from within the Father, (Jn 15:26; Rom 8:9-11) 

Who united with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, (Mt 3:16-17; Eph 4:4-6) 

Who spoke through the Prophets. (2 Pet 1:21; 2 Tim 3:16; Ezek 11:5) 

And We believe in One Holy Universal and Apostolic Church. (Eph 2:19-22, 5:26-27; I Pet 2:9) 

We acknowledge One Baptism for the forgiveness of sins, (Mk 16:16 [1 Pet 3:21]; Acts 2:38; Titus 3:4-7) 

and We look for the resurrection of the dead (Jn 11:23-27; Rom 6:5; I Cor 15:12-58) 

and the life of the world that is to come (Mt 25:34; Mk 10:29-30; Jn 11:25-26; Rev 21:1-7).