VIDEO The Nicene Creed and the Council of Nicaea

Jun 12, 2013

The Choir of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary

The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

In English:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made:

Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man;

And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried;

And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;

And ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father;

And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the Prophets;

And we believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.

We look for the Resurrection of the dead,

And the Life of the age to come. Amen.

In Greek:

Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεόν, Πατέρα, Παντοκράτορα, ποιητὴν οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς, ὁρατῶν τε πάντων καὶ ἀοράτων.

Καὶ εἰς ἕνα Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ, τὸν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς γεννηθέντα πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων· φῶς ἐκ φωτός, Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί, δι οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο.

Τὸν δι ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ σαρκωθέντα ἐκ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς Παρθένου καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσαντα.

Σταυρωθέντα τε ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου, καὶ παθόντα καὶ ταφέντα.

Καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρα κατὰ τὰς Γραφάς.

Καὶ ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ καθεζόμενον ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ Πατρός.

Καὶ πάλιν ἐρχόμενον μετὰ δόξης κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, οὗ τῆς βασιλείας οὐκ ἔσται τέλος.

Καὶ εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον, τὸ κύριον, τὸ ζωοποιόν, τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον, τὸ σὺν Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ συμπροσκυνούμενον καὶ συνδοξαζόμενον, τὸ λαλῆσαν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν.

Εἰς μίαν, Ἁγίαν, Καθολικὴν καὶ Ἀποστολικὴν Ἐκκλησίαν.

Ὁμολογῶ ἓν βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.

Προσδοκῶ ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν.

Καὶ ζωὴν τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος.

Ἀμήν.


The Truth about the Council of Nicaea

Aug 10, 2012

What happened at the council of Nicaea? Was the Trinity made up there? Was the divinity of Jesus declared there for the first time? This video answers these question?

Sources:
History of the Christian Church (Eerdmans, 1985)
Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1 (Jurgens, 1998)
The Christological Controversy (Norris, 1980)
The Rise of Christianity (Rodney Stark, 1997)
The Church History (Eusebius)
Dialogus Adversus Luciferianos (St. Jerome)

 


 

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A Model of Encouragement

Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18

A bit of Greek will help us understand how to comfort and encourage others. Begin with the word used by Jesus to describe the Holy Spirit: parakaleo. Para means “alongside,” while kaleo means “to call.” So parakaleo means to come alongside another. That’s how Jesus described the ministry of the Holy Spirit (parakletos)—one who would come alongside believers after Jesus departed earth to be with the Father (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). By looking at the way various English versions translate parakletos we get an idea of the ministry of the Spirit: Helper (NKJV, NASB, ESV), Counselor (HCSB), Advocate (NIV, NLT), and Friend (MSG). It can also mean Comforter, Intercessor, Strengthener, or Standby (AMP).

That’s what the Holy Spirit does for us: He helps, counsels, advocates, befriends, comforts, intercedes, strengthens, and stands by us. That’s what it means to be an encourager in all its various forms. And we can do the same for others. We can give them courage the same way the Holy Spirit encourages us.

If you see someone who is discouraged, allow the Holy Spirit to use you to restore their courage and confidence in God. The Holy Spirit is a model of encouragement.

The church should be a community of encouragement. Fred Catherwood

Sent to Serve

John 17:18

Too often, people fall into a wrong belief that they have no real purpose in life. They get up, go to work, come home, and zone out in front of the TV. Then it’s time to go to sleep and start all over. Where in this routine are they making time to fulfill their true purpose?

This isn’t the model Jesus set for us. When we look at the life of Christ, we can clearly see that His coming was no accident and His time was not wasted. He lived His life on target. Scripture shows without a doubt that Jesus came to accomplish a goal.

Many times in the Gospels, Jesus refers to having been sent by the Father. That word implies focus and intent. Our Savior didn’t stumble upon the earthly scene. His coming was not an accident or a happy coincidence. The idea is not that Jesus just appeared; He was sent into the world for a clear purpose.

And what was that purpose? Matthew 20:28 reveals that Jesus came not to conquer, but to serve. His life reveals a clear mission, and everything He does in the Gospels points back to His purpose: to reveal the Father, die for sin, save the lost, and provide abundant life.

No matter where He was, who He was with, or what He was doing, the Lord was always mindful of the reason for His coming. What’s more, just as Jesus was sent by the Father, so we are sent by Christ—to carry His message of hope throughout the world. Is this purpose evident in your daily routine? Pray for clarity and focus as you serve the Lord today.

Be Instant

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

Paul’s “charge” to young Timothy, just before the great apostle’s martyrdom, was urgently needed by Christians in those early days of persecution and incipient apostasy, and his words are even more appropriate today.

The admonition to “be instant” is worth special note. The Greek word ephistemi is translated in various ways (“be present,” “be at hand,” “come upon,” etc.). The main idea is simply to be there, doing what needs to be done at the time it is needed. In this particular context it is stressing the Christian’s responsibility to be there with the right words from the Word of God—words of exhortation, of doctrine, of reproof if needed, yet words given patiently, even when rebuffed by the hearer. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6).

Furthermore, the charge applies not only to those times when we are officially on duty, so to speak. It applies to off-hours as well as work time. Be instant out of season, as well as in season! The Christian must always be “on call” when God calls.

The apostle could rightly issue such a charge because he himself had set such an example. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: . . . thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience” (2 Timothy 4:7; 3:10). It is touching that Paul could then use the same word (ephistemi) concerning his own coming death, when he said, “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand” (2 Timothy 4:6). He was as ready to die as he had always been to speak, for the Lord! HMM

“He bare the sin of many.”

Leviticus 16:1-10, 15-22

Leviticus 16:1, 2

The death of Nadab and Abihu became the occasion of fresh instruction to Israel. We should always learn from the Lord’s judgments upon others. Aaron was taught that even he could only come to God as the Lord led him into nearness of access.

Leviticus 16:3, 4

He was to wear his plain ordinary garments, and his washing was meant to show his purity: even thus, in making atonement for us, our Lord Jesus laid aside his glory and became like unto his brethren, yet without sin.

Leviticus 16:5, 6

See how superior is our Lord, for he had no need to offer for himself.

Leviticus 16:7-10

Atonement is by substitutionary death.

Leviticus 16:7-10

Thus our great substitute bears away the sins of his people into oblivion.

Leviticus 16:17-19

Do we not see here our Great High Priest, alone, without a helper, making atonement for us.

Leviticus 16:20-22

The laying of the hand is very important, it represents faith which accepts the substitute. Have we this faith?

Leviticus 16:20-22

The first goat showed the Saviour suffering, and the second typified the effect of that suffering in the complete removal of Israel’s sin. Sin is gone, gone for ever, from the man who rests in Jesus.

 

I lay my sins on Jesus,

The spotless Lamb of God:

He bears them all and frees us

From the accursed load.

 

I bring my guilt to Jesus,

To wash my crimson stains

White in his blood most precious,

Till not a spot remains.

 

Herod Finally Meets Jesus!

 

Luke 23:8

After Pilate discovered Jesus was from Galilee, the jurisdiction of Herod, the Roman governor quickly sent Jesus off to see Herod. At that time, Herod was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Passover with the Jewish people. But before we get into Herod’s excited anticipation to meet Jesus, let’s first see which Herod this verse is talking about.

Several men named Herod ruled in Israel over the years. The first and most famous was “Herod the Great,” who was made the first governor of Galilee when he was twenty-five years old. His kingship was launched by the order of Octavius and Marc Antony—the same Marc Antony who had a famous relationship with Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt. Flavius Josephus, the well-known Jewish historian, recorded that Herod the Great died in 4 BC.

After the death of Herod the Great, his territory was divided among his three sons. These three sons (also named “Herod”) were as follows:

Herod Archelaus

Herod Archelaus was made governor of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea in 4 BC when his father died, and he ruled until approximately 6 AD. This makes him the Herod who was ruling when Mary, Joseph, and Jesus returned from their flight to Egypt (see Matthew 2:22).

When Herod Archelaus ascended to the throne in 4 BC, things almost immediately went sour for him. The first problem he confronted was a rebellion incited among Jewish students by their teachers. Because the Ten Commandments forbid graven images, these teachers encouraged their students to tear down and destroy the imperial golden eagle that Rome had ordered to be hung on the entrance to the temple. As punishment, Herod Archelaus ordered these teachers and students to be burned alive. The massacre continued until three thousand Jews had been slaughtered during the Feast of Passover. Soon Herod Archelaus journeyed to Rome to be crowned by the Emperor Augustus. However, fresh riots ensued in his absence, resulting in more than two thousand people being crucified.

The Gospel of Matthew indicates that Joseph and Mary were troubled about settling in the territories ruled by Herod Archelaus and therefore made their home in Galilee (Matthew 2:22). Herod Archelaus was so despised that the Jews and Samaritans, usually foes, united together and corporately appealed to Rome to request that he should be removed from power. In 6 AD, Herod Archelaus was banished to Gaul (modern-day France) and died before the year 18.

Herod Philip

Herod Philip was educated in Rome, along with his brothers Herod Archelaus and Herod Antipas. When his father, Herod the Great, died in 4 BC, Herod Philip became governor of the distant regions in the northeast territories of his father’s kingdom. These territories included:

  • Gaulanitis—known today as the Golan Heights.
  • Batanaea—the territory east of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee.
  • Trachonitis and Auranitis (or Hauran)—the southern part of modern-day Syria.

The Jews were a minority among Herod Philip’s subjects. Most people under his rule were of Syrian or Arabian ancestry, but he had Greek and Roman subjects as well, usually living in the cities. Herod Philip died in the year 34 AD after having ruled his kingdom for thirty-seven years. Since he left no heir, the Roman Emperor Tiberius directed his territories to be added to the region of Syria.

Flavius Josephus wrote that Herod Philip was moderate and quiet in the conduct of his life and government. When Tiberius died in 37 AD, his successor, Caligula, restored the principality almost in its entirety and appointed Herod Philip’s nephew, Herod Agrippa, as the new ruler—but he’s another story that we won’t get into today!

Herod Antipas

This leads us to the third son of Herod the Great—Herod Antipas, the same Herod before whom Jesus appeared in Luke 23:8 and who had long desired to personally meet Jesus. What do we know of this Herod?

Herod Antipas was assigned tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea (located on the east bank of the Jordan). The Roman emperor Augustus affirmed this decision, and the reign of Herod Antipas began in the year 4 BC when his father died.

The name “Antipas” is a compound of two Greek words, anti and pas. The word anti means against, and the word pas means all or everyone. Once compounded into one word, it means one who is against everything and everyone. This name alone should tell us something about the personality of this wicked ruler.

In the year 17 AD, Herod Antipas founded Tiberias, a new capitol he built to honor the Roman emperor, Tiberius. However, the building of this city caused an enormous disturbance among his Jewish subjects when they discovered it was being constructed on top of an old Jewish graveyard. Because these graves had been desecrated, devout Jews refused to enter Tiberias for a very long time.

Herod Antipas tried to style himself in a way that would appeal to the Jewish people, even participating in national Jewish celebrations. But the people were not convinced by this act and viewed him as an insincere fraud. Even Jesus compared Herod Antipas to a fox—an animal that was considered to be the epitome of trickery and that was usually unclean and infected with sickness. In other words, when Jesus called Herod a fox, it was the equivalent of saying he was a sneaky, lying, deceiving, dishonest, infected, and sick individual. Those were pretty strong words for Jesus!

Herod Antipas’ first marriage was to the daughter of an Arabian leader. However, he divorced this woman so he could marry the ex-wife of his half-brother, a woman named Herodias. Taking the ex-wife of one’s brother was not uncommon, but Herodias was also the daughter of another half-brother, Aristobulus. In Roman law, marriage to one’s niece was also permitted, but marriage to a woman who was both one’s sister-in-law and one’s niece was most unusual. This unusual marriage drew the attention and criticism of John the Baptist. The Gospel of Mark records that John the Baptist died because of the public stand he took against Herod Antipas’ second marriage.

In the year 37, Herod Antipas’ new wife, Herodias, disagreed when her brother Agrippa became king in place of Herod Philip. She thought that the royal title should not be given to Herod Agrippa but to her husband and made plans accordingly for Herod Antipas to be appointed king. Adamantly disagreeing with Herodias, the Roman emperor exiled both her and her husband to live the rest of their lives in Gaul, which is modern-day France.

Luke 23:8 tells us that Herod Antipas was eager to finally meet Jesus: “And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.” Notice this verse says “And when Herod saw Jesus….” The word “saw” is from the Greek word homo, meaning to see; to behold; to delightfully view; a scrutinizing look; or to look with the intent to examine.

This word horao paints a very important picture for us of exactly what happened when Jesus finally stood before Herod Antipas. It conveys the idea that Herod was excited and delighted to finally behold the miracle-worker he had heard so much about. Once Jesus stood before him, Herod literally looked Him over, scrutinizing and examining every detail of the Man who appeared before him.

The next part of the verse confirms the exhilaration and jubilation Herod Antipas felt about seeing Jesus. It says, “he was exceeding glad….” The Greek text uses two words, echari lian. The word echari is from the word chairo, the Greek word for joy. The Greek word lian means much, great, or exceedingly. These two words together suggest extreme excitement or someone who is ecstatic about something. In other words, Herod Antipas was so “hyper” about having the chance to meet Jesus that he was nearly jumping up and down on the inside!

This should tell us how well known Jesus had become during His ministry. If Herod Antipas was this excited to meet Him, it’s no wonder that the scribes and elders were apprehensive about His widespread popularity. Even the nobility longed for a chance to see Jesus’ miracles!

That’s why the next part of the verse says, “… for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him….” The word “desirous” is the Greek word thelo, which means to will or to wish. However, the construction used in this Greek phrase intensifies the wish, making it a very strong wish or desire. According to this verse, Herod had this strong desire for “a long season”—a phrase taken from the Greek words ek hikanos chronos. The word hikanos means many, considerable, or much. The word chronos means time, such as a season, epoch, era, or any specified duration of time. These words together could be translated for many years, for a long time, or for many seasons.

Why had Herod Antipas longed to see Jesus for many years? The verse says, “… because he had heard many things of him….” Jesus was a name that the Herod household had heard for years! I’m sure all three Herod boys—Archelaus, Philip, and Antipas— heard tales about:

  • Jesus’ supernatural birth.
  • The kings from the east who had come to acknowledge Him.
  • The attempt of their father, Herod the Great, to kill Jesus by ordering all the babies in Bethlehem to be murdered.
  • Jesus and His parents slipping into Egypt and waiting for the right moment to come back into Israel.
  • The ministry of Jesus touching the nation with healing and delivering power.

Stories of Jesus must have been very familiar to the Herod household. Herod Antipas had longed for a chance to meet this famous personality for many years. Jesus was a living legend, and now He was standing in his presence!

At the end of this verse, we discover the reason Herod Antipas was most excited to meet Jesus. The verse continues to tell us, “… he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.” The Greek word for “hoped” is elpidzo, meaning to hope, but the construction used in this verse is similar to the word thelo, noted above, which means to wish. Just as Herod’s wish to see Jesus was a very strong wish, now his hope to see some miracle performed by Jesus was a very strong hope or an earnest expectation.

Herod was expecting to “… have seen some miracle done by him.” The word “see” is the Greek word homo, the same word used in the first part of this verse when we are told that Herod was excited to see Jesus. Now this word is used to let us know Herod was euphoric about his chance to see some “miracle” done by Jesus.

The word “miracle” is the Greek word semeion, which is a sign, a mark, or a token that verifies or authenticates an alleged report. It is used in the Gospels primarily to depict miracles and supernatural events, which means the purpose of such miracles and supernatural events is to verify and authenticate the message of the Gospel.

But Luke 23:9 tells us that Jesus did not work miracles on demand for Herod, nor did He answer the large number of questions that Herod put to Him that day. As a result of His silence, the following verse tells us, “And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him” (v. 10).

Notice that the chief priests and scribes followed Jesus from Pilate’s palace to Herod’s residence. When Jesus performed no miracle for Herod, the scribes and elders, most of whom belonged to the sect of the Sadducees who didn’t believe in the supernatural, seized the moment to start screaming and yelling uncontrollably. The word “vehemently” is the Greek word eutonus, meaning at full pitch, at full volume, strenuously, or vigorously. In other words, these religious leaders weren’t just slightly raising their voices; they were what we might call “screaming their heads off”! Most likely they were screaming accusations right in Jesus’ face, saying things like, “Some miracle worker You are! You have no power! You’re a fraud! You can work miracles, why don’t You work one right now! You’re nothing but a charlatan!”

That day Herod was left with the impression that Jesus was nothing more than a spiritual fraud. Because Jesus didn’t perform on demand as Herod wished, this governor’s expectations were dashed, causing him to unleash his rage against Jesus. In the short time that followed, Jesus took the full brunt of this wicked ruler’s wrath.

I’m sure you’ve been in situations when you’ve been railed at because you failed to meet someone’s demands. Can you think of a time when something like this happened to you? How did you respond? Did you yell and scream back at that person when he vented his anger at you, or were you able to remain quiet and controlled as Jesus did that day before Herod Antipas and the chief priests and elders?

Life will occasionally take you through difficult places. One of those hard places is when you discover that people are disappointed with your performance. If you find yourself in this kind of predicament, remember that Jesus failed to meet the expectations of Herod Antipas (although that was probably the only person whose expectations Jesus ever failed to meet)! When you find yourself in such a place, go hide yourself away for a few minutes and call out to the Lord. He has been there; He understands; and He will help you know how you must respond!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me control myself when a project into which I’ve put my whole heart and soul goes unappreciated and rejected by my boss, my parents, my pastor, my fellow workers, or my friends. Help me take advantage of moments like these to learn how to be quiet and controlled. Please use these times in my life to help me mature and to learn how to keep my mouth shut. I know You understand the emotions that accompany this kind of disappointment, so who else can I turn to but You to help me in these kinds of ordeals?

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am self-controlled when people get angry or upset with me. Even when others vent their anger by yelling and screaming, I don’t yell and scream back at them. In these moments, the Spirit of God rules my heart, mind, and emotions, and I am able to remain quiet and controlled. When I find myself in this situation, I hide myself away in prayer for a few minutes and call out to the Lord. He helps me understand the right way and the right time to respond.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Can you recall a time when after putting forth your very best efforts, you discovered that those efforts weren’t appreciated or considered acceptable by those you were trying to please?
  2. When those you were trying to satisfy informed you about how displeased they were with your performance, did you graciously listen and learn, or did you put up a fight in your self-defense?
  3. Looking back on that situation and knowing what you know now, how would you respond differently if you could turn the clock back and do it all over again?

 

“Cherry Picking” The Scriptures

Have you ever picked cherries? The idea is to choose the ripe ones while ignoring the rest.

 

Some of us “cherry pick” the Scriptures by selecting the truths we like while disregarding the others.

 

And what we like to pick from the Scriptures are the truths that insure God’s promises of material blessings, healing, and general well-being, while ignoring His demands for separation from sin; living a life of integrity, purity, and servanthood.

 

If we are “cherry picking” the Scriptures, we are guilty of reducing the Word of God and Jesus Christ to a servile role that caters to our insatiable self-love.

 

Conversely, Paul, in preaching God’s Word resisted the temptation of “cherry picking” the Scriptures: “I have not hesitated to proclaim the whole will of God.” (Acts 20:27)

 

Some time ago I counseled a businessman who, along with his partners, were knowingly marketing a product that was defrauding their customers.

 

Imagine it! These men who supposedly had been touched by the love of Christ were using their position as leaders in the Christian community to exploit others! Apparently Scriptural “cherry picking” had dulled their conscience to make such behavior palatable.

 

Paul cautioned us: “Live as free men, But do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evilto indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (1 Peter 2:16; Galatians 5:13)

 

QUESTION: Are you ruthlessly applying all the Scriptures to your life, or are you selectively “cherry picking” the ones that pander your narcissistic tendencies?

 

The next time you are tempted to soften your stance on integrity by “cherry-picking” the Scriptures you choose to apply, keep in mind Jesus’ warning,

 

If anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life, and in the holy city… ” (Revelation 22:19a)