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Netzari History Part 4

The Sabbath in Persia

335 CE

The Sabbath-keeping churches in Persia underwent forty years of persecution under Shapur II, from 335-375 specifically, because they were Sabbath-keeping.

"They despise our sun-god. Did not Zoroaster, the sainted founder of our divine beliefs, institute Sunday one thousand years ago in honour of the sun and supplant the Sabbath of the Old Testament. Yet these Christians have divine services on Saturday" (O'Leary The Syriac Church and Fathers, pp. 83-84, re-quoted Truth Triumphant p. 170).

This persecution was mirrored in the west by the Council of Laodicea (c. 366). Hefele notes:

Canon 16 - The Gospels along with other New Testament books to be read on the Sabbath (cf. also canons 49 and 51, Bacchiocchi, fn. 15, p. 217).
Canon 29 - Christians must not Judaise by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day honoring rather the Lord's day by resting, if possible, as Christians. However if any shall be found judaising, let them be anathema for Christ (Mansi, II, pp. 569-570, see also Hefele Councils, Vol. 2, b. 6)

336 CE

The December 25 date and the institution of Christmas was selected by the church in Rome in the early fourth century. At this time, a church calendar was created and other holidays were also placed on solar dates: "It is cosmic symbolism...which inspired the Church leadership in Rome to elect the winter solstice, December 25, as the birthday of Christ, and the summer solstice as that of John the Baptist, supplemented by the equinoxes as their respective dates of conception. While they were aware that pagans called this day the 'birthday' of Sol Invictus, this did not concern them and it did not play any role in their choice of date for Christmas," according to modern scholar S.E. Hijmans. S.E. Hijmans, Sol, the sun in the art and religions of Rome, 2009, pp. 587–588. The Catholic church, however, has had a penchant for being the all encompassing religion. By applying Christian sounding names to pagan feasts and holy days, which are usually based on solstices and equinoxes, the Roman Church drew pagans and Christians together under her "Mystery Babylon" umbrella. Or is it simply coincidence that Constantine worshipped Sol Invictus whose birthday was celebrated on December 25th all the way back to Babylon?

Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means "the birthday of the unconquered Sun." The use of the title Sol Invictus allowed several solar deities to be worshipped collectively, including Elah-Gabal, a Syrian sun god; Sol, the god of Emperor Aurelian; and Mithras, a soldiers' god of Persian origin. "Mithraism", The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. And so, according to S.E. Hijmans above, we are suppose to believe that the Catholic Church set the birthday of "Jesus" to be on the same exact day as these other deities were worshipped.

Modern scholars have argued that the [Christmas] festival was placed on the date of the solstice because this was the day that the Sun reversed its southward retreat and proved itself to be "unconquered."Several early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun (the orb in space) to the birth of "Jesus".

"Christmas", The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913

339 CE

Severe persecution of [Netzarim] in Persia, until 379; intermittent vicious persecution by Sassanian rulers until the 640 conquest by Islam.

345 CE

Persecution in East Syria and Persia drives 400 Nestorians with a bishop to settle in Malabar, India.

351 CE

The Unitarian (not to be confused with the present day Unitarian Churches) Goths publish the Bible in the Gothic Language.

354 CE

The earliest known reference to the date of the nativity as December 25 is found in the Chronography of 354, an illuminated manuscript compiled in Rome. This document was prepared privately for a Roman aristocrat. The reference in question states, "VIII kal. ian. natus Christus in Betleem Iudeæ". It is in a section copied from an earlier manuscript produced in 336. This document also contains the earliest known reference to the feast of Sol Invictus. Click here for Chronography of 354 Calendar. 

358 CE

Jewish calendar is changed from the Temple period model by a calculation system and delineated under Rabbi Hillel II ca. 368 CE (from input by Babylonian rabbis of ca 344 CE). The Waldensian and later the Transylvanian Sabbatarians did not follow the Jewish calendar but worked on the astronomical conjunction of the New Moon.

"The primitive Christians did keep the Sabbath of the Jews;...therefore the Christians, for a long time together, did keep their conventions upon the Sabbath, in which some portions of the law were read: and this continued till the time of the Laodicean council." "The Whole Works" of Jeremy Taylor, Vol. IX,p. 416 (R. Heber's Edition, Vol XII, p. 416).

379 CE

In the East, the feast of Christmas was introduced to Constantinople and to Antioch in about 380. The feast of Christmas disappeared after Gregory of Nazianzus resigned as bishop in 381, although it was reintroduced by John Chrysostom in about 400. "Christmas", The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. See John Chrysostom (the Golden Mouthed) on our "Bigotry" page.

380 CE

The second century Montanists started a cult of worship of the Holy Spirit as they expected the Holy Spirit to come and take the place of the sons and announce a more perfect gospel. This view was repressed but led to the Fourth Council of Rome in 380 where Pope Damasus condemned whoever denied that the Holy Spirit should be adored like the Father and the Son (ibid., p. 711). Consequently the next year (381) at the Council of Constantinople, the Holy Spirit was added to the Godhead as the Trinity but not perhaps as successfully as the Cappadocians would have liked. This forms the next great distinction between the Netzari and Trinitarianism.

381 CE

Council of Constantinople sees the formulation of the doctrine of the trinity and the defining of the Holy Spirit as a third part of the Godhead, furthering the binitarian heresy emanated from the council of Nicaea. The full doctrinal position, however, was not agreed upon until the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE. This council saw the exit of the thirty-six semi-Arians, Macedonians or Pneumatomachi. The council, after that exit, consisted of only 150 bishops. It was thus unrepresentative of much of Christianity and the Netzarim (who had been excluded since 325CE) at the time.

The Trinity was declared at Constantinople from the theology of the Cappadocians Basil, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus.

The destruction of the faith by the Greeks and Romans had begun to take effect.

385 CE

Banishment of some Sabbatarians from Britain to Ireland after the execution of Priscillian.

Celtic Sabbath-keeping

Henry Charles Lea, the foremost authority on the Papal Inquisitions, records in the period of the commencement of persecution involving judicial capital punishment for heresy, that at the time of the execution of Priscillian with six of his followers in 385 CE, that "others were banished to a barbarous island beyond Britain." (A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, vol.1. New York: Harper & Brothers 1887, p.213.) Most likely this barberous island would appear to be Ireland. Britain and Ireland were favorite places for banishment and the marketing of slaves in those days. If indeed, many faithful "heretics" were banished to Ireland for centuries, it could not but have had a profound effect or that island, which became a great centre of light under Patrick (5th century), Columba (521-597), and Columbanus (c. 540-615) as the darkness of papal tyranny descended over the continent. Missionaries went forth from Ireland to Switzerland, Bohemia, and Kiev. Ireland was one of the most difficult areas for Rome to subjugate, and this explains why such unending efforts have been made for over 1200 years to completely subjugate this island of Ireland. (Taken from Cherith Chronicle, April-June 1998, pp. 46-47).

The Celtic Church, which occupied Ireland, Scotland and Britain, had the Syriac (Byzantine) scriptures instead of the Latin vulgate of Rome. The Celtic Church, with the Waldenses and the Eastern empire, kept the seventh-day Sabbath. When Queen Margaret fled to Scotland with her father Edward Atheling, a pretender to the English throne, she wrote "to her English cousins expressing astonishment at the religious practices of the Scots. Among the 'peculiarities' of the Scots was that 'they work on Sunday, but keep Saturday in a sabbatical manner.' To another correspondent she complained, 'They are accustomed also to neglect reverence for the Lord's days (Sundays); and thus to continue upon them as upon other days all the labours of earthly work.'

"The observance of the Saturday Sabbath by most Scots went hand in hand with their refusal to 'recognize the overlordship of the Pope in matters spiritual'. Despite the best efforts of King Nectan centuries earlier, Scottish Christianity was still of the 'Columban' or 'Celtic', not the 'Roman', variety.

"The most popular narrative history of Scotland--Scotland: A Concise History by P. Hume Brown (Langsyne) -- confirms that at Margaret's accession, 'the people worked on Sundays and observed Saturday as the Sabbath day'. Peter Berresford Ellis in Celtic lnheritance (Constable, 1992) page 45 writes: 'When Rome began to take a particular interest in the Celtic Church towards the end of the sixth century AD there were several differences between them... The Celtic Sabbath was celebrated on a Saturday.' Ellis' comment covers the Celtic Church in Wales, Ireland, Cornwall and Gaul, as well as Scotland. Romanism was, apparently, coming into Scotland but had no strength north of the Forth.

"This gave Queen Margaret her crusade (and her route to canonization): 'Margaret did all she could to make the Scottish clergy do and believe exactly what the Church of Rome commanded.' This involved the enforcement of Sunday-keeping, a policy continued by her son, King David I. Nevertheless, on the eve of the Reformation, there were still many communities in the Scottish Highland loyal to the seventh-day Sabbath, as opposed to 'the Papal Sunday'.

"Two books published in 1963-- to commemorate Columba's landing at lona in 563-- concerned themselves with the 'Celtic distinctives' and counted among them the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. Dr. W.D. Simpson published The Historical St. Columba in Edinburgh. He confirms that Columba and his companions kept 'the day of the Sabbath' and in case there should be any doubt adds in a footnote 'Saturday, of course'... F.W. Fawcett was commissioned to write his Columba--Pilgrim for Christ by the Lord Bishop of Derry and Raphoe. His book was published in Londonderry and printed by the Derry Standard in connection with the Irish commemoration of Columba's mission. Fawcett outlines eight Celtic distinctives. Among these that the Celts had a married priesthood and that they observed the seventh day as the Sabbath." ~David Marshall, The Celtic connection. England: Stanborough Press, 1994, pp.29, 30.

"The reason why Pope Gregory I had perceived the Celtic Church as such a major threat and why he and his successors expended such efforts in destroying the distinctive 'Irish customs' became massively evident.

"A.O. and M.O. Anderson, in the Introduction to their Adomnan's Life of Columba (Thomas Nelson 1961), shed light, not only on Columba's seventh-day Sabbath keeping practice, but on the gradual 'adjustment' of manuscripts by generations of Roman copyists, in an attempt to provide an impression that the Celtic saints held Sunday sacred.

"Adomnan's use of sabbatum for Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is clear indication from 'Columba's mouth' that 'Sabbath was not Sunday.' Sunday, the first day of the week is 'Lord's day.' Adomnan's attitude to Sunday is important, because he wrote at a time when there was controversy over the question whether the ritual of the biblical Sabbath was to be transferred to the Christians' Lord's-day.' (A.O. and M.O. Anderson (eds) Adomnan's Life of Columba (Thomas Nelson's Medieval Texts, 1961), pages 25-26.)

"The Old Testament required seventh-day Sabbath observance and, reason Adomnan's editors, since the New Testament nowhere repealed the fourth commandment, the seventh-day was observed by all early Christians. The evidence they adduce suggests that no actual confusion between Sunday and 'the Sabbath' occurred until the early sixth century, and then in the writings of the rather obscure Caesarius of ArIes. (ibid., page 26.)

The Roman 'movement' to supersede the Celtic Sabbath with Sunday 'culminated in the production of an (apocryphal) 'Letter of Jesus', or 'Letter of Lord's-day', alleged to have been found on the altar of Peter in Rome; and is said in the annals to have been brought to Ireland by a pilgrim (c. 886). Upon this basis laws were promulgated, imposing heavy penalties for those that violated on Sunday certain regulations derived from Jewish prohibitions for Sabbath... There is in fact no historical evidence that Ninian, or Patrick, or Columba, or any of their contemporaries in Ireland, kept Sunday as a Sabbath.' (ibid., p. 28).

An "early version of The Rule of Columba is reproduced in Columba—Pilgrim for Christ by [Clergyman] F.W. Fawcett, MA. [Clergyman] Fawcett is a Church of Ireland clergyman. He was commissioned by the Lord Bishop of Derry and Raphoe to produce this book as part of the celebrations in 1963 of the departure of Columba for lona in AD 563." ~Marshall, The Celtic Connection, 46.

What They Said

Church of England

"The seventh day, the commandment says, is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. No kind of arithmetic, no kind of almanac, can make seven equal one, nor the seventh mean the first, nor Saturday mean Sunday. ... The fact is that we are all Sabbath breakers, every one of us."
~Rev. Geo. Hodges speaking to a C.O.E. congregation.

Click here to continue to Netzari History Part 5

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Sunday, 20 July 2014 17:00
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