Condensed Councils Part 1

Who, What, Where, When, and Why?

WHO?

Athanasius - Athanasius believed Yahusha was homoousian with the Father, and had no beginning. Born in AD 296, Athanasius would have been around 30 years of age at the council of Nicea.

Arius - Arius believed God was a literal Father and had a literal son whom had a marked begining. Of whom, God made everything else through his son. Born in AD 256, Arius would have been around 70 years old at the council of Nicea

Constantine - The emperor of Rome. Born in A.D. 272, Constantine I would have been around 34 years old when he became emperor and 53 years old at the council of Nicea.

WHAT?

Meeting called for by Constantine, where approximately 1,800 bishops were invited. They discussed issues including the substance of Yahusha, the date to celebrate Easter (Passover), and church law, otherwise known as the canon.

WHERE? 

 

The first council was held at Nicea, which would be the North West part of modern day Turkey.

WHEN? 

 

A.D. 325

WHY? 

 

The emperor of Rome wanted to unite his kingdom.  He knew this could not happen if "christians" continued to dispute with one another. In order to settle the disputes he called for a council at Nicea. Born in A.D. 272, Constantine I would have been around 34 years old when he became emperor and 53 years old at the council of Nicea.

Timeline

300 - 200 B.C. Greek Septuagint Composed (or LXX meaning 70)

A.D. 256  Arius born in Libya

A.D. 272 Constantine I (the first) was born

A.D. 296 Athanasius born

A.D. 303  Roman Emperor, Diocletian calls for destruction of all Christian scriptures

A.D. 306 Constantine becomes emperor

A.D. 313 Christianity legalized in Rome but not made the official religion.

A.D. 315 Athanasius identifies the 27 books of the New Testament

A.D. 321 Constantine declared Sunday ‘The Venerable day of the Sun

A.D. 325 First Council of Nice (Nicea)

A.D. 326 Constantine had his eldest son Crispus, by Minervina, seized and put to death by "cold poison" at Pola (Pula, Croatia).[240] In July, Constantine had his wife, the Empress Fausta, killed at the behest of his mother, Helena. Fausta was left to die in an over-heated bath

328 AD  Athanasius becomes bishop of Alexandria.

328 AD  Constantine recalls Arius from Illyria.

A.D. 331 Constantine directed Eusebius to make 50 copies of the sacred scriptures (Those copies are lost although some say the Codex Sinaiticus may be a copy. We do not know what books were used unless the Codex Sinaiticus is in fact a copy)

335 AD  Constantine now sides with Arius and exiles Athanasius to Trier.

A.D. 337 Constantine falls ill and dies 50 days after Passover

337 AD  A new emperor, Contantius II, orders the return of Athanasius to Alexandria.

Quick Review of the 1st Council

As we look at the councils, let us ask ourselves this question. Are we defending what we have read for ourselves, or are we defending what we have been taught?

H. Percival writes "The first requirement was not learning, but honesty. The question they were called upon to answer was not, What do I think probable, or even certain from Holy Scripture but, What have I been taught, what has been intrusted to me to hand down to others? (Henry Percival, The Seven Ecumenical Councils, pg 66)

That statement might seem noble at first glance, but it suddenly becomes grievous to think that if they were handed down lies, then they would not be defenders of truth but rather lies. 

The councils will be discussed more at length, but let us familiarize ourselves with the creed that came about at the end of the first council.

 

The Nicene Creed

 

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten (gennethenta), not made, being of one substance (homoousion, consubstantialem) with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not (en pote hote ouk en), or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion [51] --all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.

Notice how the holy spirit was hardly brought up. In fact there is only one 5 word sentence in the creed that mentions the holy spirit. If you want to get technical God (the Father) was not mentioned very much either. You probably noticed the majority of the creed really revolves around Yahusha and who or what he was.

When reading the creed you will notice the word 'homoousion'

(Gr. homoousion - from homos, same, and ousia, essence; Latin consubstantialem, of one essence or substance)

The creed changed during its formation but the word homoousion eventually made it into the creeds final version.

The argument was complex, but much of the debate revolved around the 'essence' of Yahusha. Was Yahusha homoousion with the Father, having the exact same essence, or were they similiar but somehow different.

In other words, was God "Jello" and Yahusha "Pudding", meaning they were similar but obviously different, as anyone can tell you the difference between jello and pudding. Or were they both jello, one orange flavored and the other cherry.

This was not a simple dispute. Look at the statement from the website New Advent. This is from the same link posted above regarding the definition of homoousion.

When one considers how the four creeds formulated at Antioch (341) by the Semi-Arians approached the Nicene Creed as nearly as possible without the actual word Homoousion, there may be a temptation to think that the question was one of words only... But this very formula was forced from the Fathers by the Emperor Constantius; and the force and fraud which the Semi-Arians used throughout the greater part of the fourth century, are proof sufficient that the dispute was not merely verbal. The dogma of the Trinity was at stake... 

There lies the real issue! The trinity.

 

If I could convince you Donald Trump was Homoousion with God, and had no beginning then I might be able to convince you that he was god. Even though scripture mentions nothing about Donald Trump, or Donald Trump being god. Because if Donald Trump had the same essence of god, and had no beginning, then wouldn't he also be god? Because only God has no beginning. So if Donald Trump had no beggining and was even homoousion, or had the same essence of the father then wouldn't that make him  god?

A similar argument states "Is god unchangeable"?

When answered yes, the next statement will be well then God must have always been a Father, otherwise if there was a time when he was not a father then he has changed and is not unchangeable.

And because god is unchangeable, then He has always been a father, and if He's always been a father, then He's always had a son, and if He's always had a son then that son must be eternal. Therefore since His son is eternal, then His son must be God.

These statements might remind you of the question "Can God create a stone that He cannot lift?" And either way you answer will lead to the reply "see, God cannot do everything!"

Let's take a quick look at the Canon or rules these men decided upon.

Reference:

The Seven Ecumenical Councils

Henry R Percival

(Available on Amazon)

Meaning of Constantine's Name

Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus

Flavius - Golden

Valerius - Valiant

Aurelius - Golden

Constantinus - Steadfast

Augustus - Venerable/Majestic

Wiccan Symbol

The Canon

Canon V.

 

Concerning those, whether of the clergy or of the laity, who have been excommunicated in the several provinces, let the provision of the canon be observed by the bishops which provides that persons cast out by some be not readmitted by others.

 

"The excommunication continues to be in force until it seem good to the assembly of bishops (to koino) to soften it." Gelasius, on the other hand, writes: mechris an to koino e to episkopo, k.t.l., that is to say, "until it seem good to the assembly of bishops, or to the bishop (who has passed the sentence)," etc.... Dionysius the Less has also followed this variation, as his translation of the canon shows. It does not change the essential meaning of the passage; for it may be well understood that the bishop who has passed the sentence of excommunication has also the right to mitigate it.

 

Canon XVI.

 

Neither presbyters, nor deacons, nor any others enrolled among the clergy, who, not having the fear of God before their eyes, nor regarding the ecclesiastical Canon, shall recklessly remove from their own church, ought by any means to be received by another church; but every constraint should be applied to restore them to their own parishes; and, if they will not go, they must be excommunicated. And if anyone shall dare surreptitiously to carry off and in his own Church ordain a man belonging to another, without the consent of his own proper bishop, from whom although he was enrolled in the clergy list he has seceded, let the ordination be void.

 

Canon XVIII.

 

Deacons must abide within their own bounds. They shall not administer the Eucharist to presbyters, nor touch it before them, nor sit among the presbyters. For all this is contrary to canon, and to decent order.

 

Canon XIX

Paulianists must be rebaptised, and if such as are clergymen seem to be blameless let them be ordained. If they do not seem to be blameless, let them be deposed.

 

By Paulianists must be understood the followers of Paul of Samosata the anti-Trinitarian who, about the year 260, had been made bishop of Antioch, but had been deposed by a great Synod in 269. As Paul of Samosata was heretical in his teaching on the Holy Trinity the Synod of Nice applied to him the decree passed by the council of Arles in its eighth canon. (Henry Percival, The Seven Ecumenical Councils)

 

"If anyone shall come from heresy to the Church, they shall ask him to say the creed; and if they shall perceive that he was baptized into the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, [102] he shall have a hand laid on him only that he may receive the Holy Ghost. But if in answer to their questioning he shall not answer this Trinity, let him be baptized."


 

On the Keeping of Easter.

 

From the Letter of the Emperor to all those not present at the Council. (Found in Eusebius, Vita Const., Lib. iii., 18-20.) When the question relative to the sacred festival of Easter arose, it was universally thought that it would be convenient that all should keep the feast on one day; for what could be more beautiful and more desirable, than to see this festival, through which we receive the hope of immortality, celebrated by all with one accord, and in the same manner?

 

It was declared to be particularly unworthy for this, the holiest of all festivals, to follow the custom [the calculation] of the Jews, who had soiled their hands with the most fearful of crimes, and whose minds were blinded. In rejecting their custom, [113] we may transmit to our descendants the legitimate mode of celebrating Easter, which we have observed from the time of the Saviour's Passion to the present day [according to the day of the week].

 

We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews, for the Saviour has shown us another way; our worship follows a more legitimate and more convenient course (the order of the days of the week); and consequently, in unanimously adopting this mode, we desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews, for it is truly shameful for us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep this feast.

 

How can they be in the right, they who, after the death of the Saviour, have no longer been led by reason but by wild violence, as their delusion may urge them? They do not possess the truth in this Easter question; for, in their blindness and repugnance to all improvements, they frequently celebrate two passovers in the same year. We could not imitate those who are openly in error. How, then, could we follow these Jews, who are most certainly blinded by error? for to celebrate the passover twice in one year is totally inadmissible. But even if this were not so, it would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people [the Jews].

 

[114] It is curious that after all the attempts that have been made to get this matter settled, the Church is still separated into East and West--the latter having accepted the Gregorian Calendar from which the Eastern Church, still using the Julian Calendar, differs in being twelve days behind. And even in the West we have succeeded in breaking the spirit of the Nicene decree, for in 1825 the Christian Easter coincided with the Jewish Passover! (Henry Percival, The Seven Ecumenical Councils)

can·on1

ˈkanən/

noun

  1. 1.

    a general law, rule, principle, or criterion by which something is judged

Matthew 20

25 But Yahusha called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Summary

Next we will dive into the first council more and find out more how the decision making process worked, who agreed, and who disagreed, and what were the ramifications of it.

Take time to familiarize yourself with this information. There was not much information given, but if this is the first time that you have heard of this information then it can be overwhelming. The more you understand the basics and the key players though the easier it will be to understand the complete picture.

If you have time you can watch the following video. 

https://youtu.be/rq8_ah7mBt8