Miscellena

11. Miscellanea.


11.1. Angeology. 


Christian Separatists recognize that the Greek word angelos commonly translated as angel, is more properly translated messenger. The Greek word carried only a meaning of messenger, or envoy, and never had any supernatural connotation in the original language. This is the word also used in the Septuagint where English translations often employ angel instead of the proper messenger. Thus, we understand that there is not, in and of itself, anything of supernatural significance implied whenever this Greek word is used. Only context would imply something above the normal meaning of this word. When properly translated, we see that both the Old and New Testaments, in most cases, use the term messenger in reference to someone whom God used for a special purpose, with no other connotation beyond that. In other cases, it was used in reference to the messengers of the Diabolical One. These facts do not deny the Bible teaching of Heavenly beings, or cherubim and seraphim. 


11.2. Wonders and Signs.
 


We believe that the many signs and wonders, sometimes called miracles, which are recorded in the New and Old Testaments, actually occurred. We believe that all of these signs and wonders happened within the realm of the Laws of Nature, but nevertheless with a degree of manipulation of those laws which would have been impossible for any mere scientist or magician to accomplish at that time. We believe that these signs and wonders were each for a special purpose, and those in the New Testament were specifically necessary to prove that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah. However, that necessity ended with the Day of Vindication in 70 AD and so too did the ability for anyone to perform those signs and wonders, to speak in languages that they had not been taught, to write under divine inspiration, etc. We believe, therefore, that anyone today claiming to have such abilities is a false prophet, as Jesus has warned us: 


“For false anointeds and false prophets will be raised, and they will give signs and wonders in order to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen. But you, watch. Behold, I have told all things before you” (Mark 13:22-23 AST). 


11.3. Concord Between Science and the Bible. 


Christian Separatists believe that on every point, the true interpretation of the Bible agrees with true science. The Laws of Nature, which science attempts to describe, were created by God. We strongly warn against people who attempt to pervert science because of a misinterpretation of the Bible. Such confusion is Jewish in origin and is designed to cause Christians to question the Bible in the light of science. 


11.3.1. Iatrology. 


Christian Separatists recognize the importance of Christian physicians as an instrument of God’s healing, and we caution against those who foster distrust of medicines and medical practices. This is usually done for financial gain, but it serves to endanger those who fall prey to such misinformation. We believe that the Bible clearly recognizes physicians and the role of medicines and the healing arts. Luke was a physician (Col. 4:14), and Christ recognized the role of physicians when He said, “Those who are strong have no need of a physician, but those having illness” (Mark 2:17 AST). And Sirach 38:1-13 (LXX) says, 


“Honor a physician with the honor due to him for the uses which you may have of him: for the Master has created him. For healing is of the Most High … The Master has created medicines out of the earth; and the wise man will not treat them with contempt. … The druggist makes mixtures with these things, and there is no end of his works; … And give place to the physician, for the Master has created him; and do not put him away from you, for you have need of him. There is a time when in their hands there is success.”


11.3.2. Danger of Pseudoscience.


Since we firmly believe that there is no discord between science and the Bible, we reject all forms of pseudoscience and warn that these types of false teachings and beliefs are merely Humanistic, Jewish traps of sophistry, which are designed to harm and financially exploit. There are innumerable examples that might be given, such as extra-terrestrial beings, UFO’s, telegony, and countless medical frauds, which are not grounded in the hard sciences of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. 


11.4. Historicism of Christ. 


We believe that the historical existence of Jesus Christ is something that can be proven with a variety of sources and evidence. It is not something that must be taken “as a matter of faith,” as some claim. Indeed, the number and variety of witnesses testifying to the historical existence of Jesus Christ is rivaled only by a handful of other major first century AD figures, such as the Caesars, whose historical existence no one questions. Here a few of the more important pieces of evidence: 

  1. The New Testament writings, which are actually several independent sources since the books were not compiled into a single work until several years after they were penned. The New Testament writings also serve to refute the Jewish claim that all accounts of Jesus are “hearsay,” since the authors actually knew Jesus and reported firsthand experience. 
  2. Other early Christian literature, such as the Didache, Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, Clement of Alexandria, the historian Eusebius, etc. These and other texts originated from the middle of the first century up until the second and third centuries. Therefore, some authors, such as those of the Didache may have personally seen Jesus, while others knew people, or had parents or grandparents, who had seen Jesus. 
  3. Early New Testament pseudepigrapha, such as the Gnostic Gospels, which date to as early as 150 AD. 
  4. Flavius Josephus, who mentions Jesus in his historical works, written in the first century. 
  5. Pliny the Younger, a Roman official, who mentions Christians and Jesus Christ in some of his official Roman letters. 
  6. Tacitus, who mentions Christ and the Christians in his Annals (XV;44), also written at the close of the first century, but based upon other official and historical records that predated him. 
  7. Seutonius, the Roman historian and documenter of the Caesars, mentions Christ. This work too was written at the close of the first century and was based upon many official Roman records and sources to which we no longer have access. 
  8. The Jewish Talmud mentions Jesus several times. Many of these references were likely written in the first century and later compiled into the Talmud, since the Talmud is a collection of Jewish hate-literature, written against Christ and Christians.

It should be noted that this wide variety of types of evidence exists despite the improbability that any such evidence would exist. This is because only a very small percentage of literature and documents from the first century exist, certainly less than 1%. This is due to the natural decay of the then available writing materials, so texts only survived if they were frequently copied. Also, many of the great libraries of the ancient world were burned, which were repositories for texts, which existed often in only one copy. In addition to this, there has been a deliberate effort by Jews since the first century to destroy all such evidence, and they continue today to put out misinformation about the above sources in an effort to discredit them, since they were unable to destroy them. 

For example, Justin and Tertullian both wrote about a letter from Pontius Pilate to Caesar, which is a report about Jesus. While this letter apparently existed, at least at the time of Justin, it no longer does. Additionally, several early writers, such as Julius Africanus, Eusebius, Theophilus, Lactantius, cite the writings of Thallus, a first century, pagan chronologer who wrote a book called The Histories. In this work, which the above early writers had access to, Thallus mentioned that the sky had become darkened because of the death of Christ. So, again, while several early writers mention this document’s existence, it curiously no longer exists. 


11.4.1 Historical Evidence that Christ was a True Prophet. 


We also believe that historical and archeological evidence can prove that Jesus Christ was a true prophet. The Gospel of Mark contains Jesus’ prophecies regarding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. If it can be proven that Mark was written before 70 AD, then Christ is revealed to be a true prophet, since He accurately foretold future events. This proof exists in the form of a fragment of Mark, known as Papyrus 7Q5, found in a cave at Qumran, which we know archeologically and historically was sealed in 68 AD. Furthermore, electron microscopy, infrared photography, and other textual evidence indicate that the fragment of Mark dates to about 50 AD, twenty years before the destruction of Jerusalem. 


11.5. Separatist View of the Cross and Christian Artwork.


The Society of Separated Christians is very much aware that Jesus Christ was clearly crucified on a torture stake. We believe that His feet were crossed and nailed, and that His hands were crossed above His head and nailed. No doubt, they were also bound with ropes to hold His weight. The Scriptures teach that a sign written in three languages was nailed above His head reading: “Jesus the Nazarene – King of the Judeans” (John 19:19 AST).

This torture stake, with the application of the sign, constituted a cross. Moreover, the traditional crucifix that captures the moment of the death of Christ, is a most useful and instructive piece of art that aids in the teaching of godly sorrow. We, therefore, endorse the cross, whether a crucifix or a plain cross as a traditional symbol of Christianity. We do not believe these circumstances are reason for contention. We rather believe that our Master has told us to “take the good and leave the bad.” For this reason, we endorse many traditional practices, though we keep such practices from a Christian Separatist point-of-view.

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