Different early marks of Christianity – The Royal Gazette
Created: Oct 09, 2021 7:58 AM
The attraction of the apostles: Peter’s conflict with Simon Magnus, as depicted by Avanzino Nucci in this painting from 1620
Khalid Wasi (Photo provided)
Despite the fact that one man inspired the world to have over two billion followers, historians have fought for centuries for the true story of Jesus.
Archaeological research has done a lot to recreate what may have been the scene at the time. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were not included in the canon created in Rome in the 4th century, provided a very different account from what we commonly hear in Western Christianity today.
Unlike believers, historians seek independent third-party evidence to help corroborate the eyewitness accounts of followers. In this regard, the four gospels are taken on the merit of testimony, but many of the episodes described cannot be independently verified.
Josephus, the Jewish scribe who wrote the diaries for the Romans, briefly refers to James as the brother of Jesus, but does not elaborate. However, there is a clear record of the disciples, many of whom fled Jerusalem and continued their Jewish way of life as disciples of Jesus. What’s interesting about them is that they saw Jesus as a man, not a god. The Jewish messiah was supposed to be a man of the line of David who will restore the city as a king for the Jews – they did not expect a god.
As in modern times, some people have claimed to be the return of God (and there are several cases) – Divine Father, etc., and more at the same time. It seems that as a cosmic reality, the spiritual energy for these events are not singular or isolated events. In the time of the historic Jesus, there were others who made the same claim and also performed miracles.
In the context of the line of David, the Samaritans who disassociated themselves from the Jews were also of the same line of David. In the Tales of Jesus, he tried to help his Jewish community understand their nearsightedness and folly and paid homage to the good behavior of the Samaritan.
The Jewish disciples did not embrace the Gentiles. It is said that Paul introduced a new teaching, which was adopted by the Gentiles, which did not require circumcision or the observance of any of the Jewish laws. Entwined in this clash of ideologies, Simon Magnus, a magician and Samaritan with spiritual insight, was one of those who made similar claims to Jesus. Seeing the power of some of Jesus’ apostles, laying hands and transforming people, he inquired about that power.
At first, Simon the Samaritan was rebuked by the apostle Peter, but he was able to demonstrate intellectually that having a direct connection with God was better than just being there or hearing the words of Jesus. In fact, his claim was the exact claim of Paul, who said he had met the divine on the road to Damascus.
What is absolutely clear is that there were two distinctly different marks of Christianity, one Jewish and the other anti-Jewish. There was also a difference early on in what was considered the nature of Jesus and then the idea of Christ. The most prolific of the groups in the first 100 to 200 years were the Gnostics.
The predominant idea was that he was a man and at the age of 30 after baptism by John the Baptist he was filled with a divine spirit, which carried him for the remainder of his tenure.
To simplify matters, Jesus spent the rest of his days trying with very little success to get others and his followers to have the same divine spirit that possessed him. Pentecost was the beginning of this realization, or “Gnosis,” which brought his disciples and disciples into direct contact with God by making them apostles.
This would all come to an end in the early 300s, when there were so many Christians that Rome decided to make it a state religion. To accomplish that there could be no religious disparity, Constantine the Emperor needed an idea.
They assembled several bishops to come to an agreed doctrine and rejected anything that was contrary to what was agreed. With the agreement of the Council of Nicaea, among the many books available, they put together a bible by choosing only the books that were in agreement with their account. An inquisition followed and any book that did not conform to the Roman book was destroyed. It was only recently that some of these lost books were discovered.
The faith and practice of early Christianity was a personal development leading to direct fellowship with the Lord of the Universe without an intermediary. It wasn’t professing the apostles’ creed that won God’s favor, or salvation. It all started after the 4th century and there were many intermediaries, like the Pope and the priestly class, until the Reformation.
Today, as we look back to discover Christ’s message, two considerations arise. The message of Christ to the Jews, or the message of Christ interpolated given by Simon and Paul – they come from the same spirit, but are not one and the same. However, if you are able to follow his life directly, based on his path, you will get there anyway.
The greatest independent testimony to first century Christianity, although not disciples of Jesus, are the disciples of John the Baptist (Mandaeans), who continue to this day the same practices that lead to Gnosis, the experiential connection with God.