Prince of Greece Part 2
The New Testament writers regularly warn against false teachers who are to come. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy…
2 Tim 3:13–17 & 4:3-4
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work…
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables…
In 3 John we see these people already starting to infiltrate the assembly…
3 John 9-10
I wrote to the assembly, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the assembly.
So here we have someone with a very Greek sounding name banning the beloved Jewish disciple John (Yeshua’s brother and author of several New Testament books) from meeting with fellow believers… the rot had already started.
After the deaths of the first apostles, a new breed of leader emerged trying to exert influence over the believers. They are usually referred to as the “church fathers” many of whom were Greek and anti-Semitic. Through them the prince of Greece started pushing Greek philosophy and thinking into the body of Messiah. They tried to remove any “Jewish” elements from the faith and practically started a whole new religion which today is commonly called “the Christian church”. Whilst many believers didn’t buy into this Greek invasion, those who did set things up for Constantine when he decided to join the party and announced he had become a Christian around A.D. 312.
As Constantine got more involved with Christians however he found to his horror that much of the body of Christ had remained faithful to God’s commands and appointed times and to Constantine’s “Greek” mindset was “Jewish” in nature and expression. So he set about completely reorganising “the church” with the express purpose of getting rid of anything “Jewish” and imposing his (Greek) rules and paganism onto it.
Regarding the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325), his first official attempt at stopping believers from observing Passover and making them observe the fable of Easter/Ishtar/Astarte, he wrote “Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries…”
However, the true followers of Messiah kept observing God’s laws and festivals for hundreds more years in spite of on-going persecution from Rome. We see the Romans trying to stamp out Christ’s body and turn it into “the church” over and over…
- The Council of Antioch in A.D. 345 excommunicated believers who celebrated Passover;
- The Council of Laodicea in A.D. 365 again banned believers from “Jewish” festivals and observance of the Sabbath;
- The Council of Agde, France in A.D. 506 still trying to ban believers from participating in “Jewish” festivals;
- The Council of Toledo X in A.D. 656 again positioning the Easter observance over Passover;
- The Council of Nicea II in A.D. 787 excommunicating believers who observed Sabbath or any other practices “in the manner of the Jews.”
So more than 450 years after Constantine’s first Council of Nicea the Romans were still trying to stop believers from practicing a biblical faith!
Eventually the prince of Greece completed his infiltration, took over the “official” body of Messiah, renamed it “the church” (in the original biblical text, the word “church” does not appear, anywhere!), changed its thinking, its theology, its practices, its authority structure and its teaching. Today’s “Christian” churches, be they orthodox, catholic, protestant, pentecostal or anywhere in between still languish in the shadow of the prince of Greece. We have been un-grafted from the true olive root of our biblical (Jewish) roots (Rom 11:16-27) and re-grafted onto the dead tree of Greek paganism (the fables spoken of in 2 Tim 4:4).
Another interesting point about what Paul told Timothy in (2 Tim 3:13–17)…
“But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work…”
Paul can only be referring to the Tanakh (Old Testament) here, because the New Testament wasn’t written when Timothy was learning the Holy Scriptures.
Therefore, Paul says the Tanakh is able to make us wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus! And, it is profitable for doctrine, reproof, instruction in righteousness making us complete and equipped for good works. When was the last time you were taught these things from the Tanakh? Has the prince of Greece coloured our interpretation of scripture? Might our theology look a little different if we took a Hebraic view of the bible? Have we been deceived?
Tune in to Part 3 to see how the prince of Greece has affected both our theology, and how we interpret scripture. Until then...
Shalom and God Bless,