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Hello and welcome to all. Just call me “Joanie” and I hope you will join this Christian blog and we can have some lively chats. This blog is non-denominational and non-controversial.  It is designed to present biblical history, and other biblical-related Christian topics. You will not find “hell-fire and damnation” preaching here. Open discussion is encouraged. I will contribute articles to share with you and hope we can learn more about the Bible, it truly is like an onion; layer upon layer.

Special note: The 5-part series on Simon Magus and other series do not appear in order. Scroll up or down to find the next part on the series. Sorry about this being out of order.

Part I: What you might not know about Simon Magus

Part I: What you might not know about Simon Magus

Copyright  2021 by Joan Berry

INTRODUCTION

Most of you who come to my page and/or read my books know that I love the Bible, especially the history and spiritual combined. I like to know what was going on at the time that its books were written. It opens the door to much knowledge and better standing of the Scriptures. Sometimes the account of an event is not pretty, but we can learn a lesson from it. The upcoming series deals with an evil man who created a counterfeit church that competes with the true church to this day. The man is Simon Magus, a pagan priest, magician, and sorcerer from Samaria who professed to be a Christian but was not. I am writing the series in the narrative style with sources listed at the end because I believe it makes for smoother reading. My sources are from a variety of Bibles that recorded the events I am writing about; ancient accounts from the historians of that era and beyond; commentaries; and the numerous books listed on the Sources page.

Part I

 Babylon was ideally situated as a port on the Euphrates River and was the capital of Mesopotamia. It was one of the largest cities in the world. Babylonians conquered Samaria and forcibly removed a large number of its populace to Babylon as prisoners of war.  Eventually, the Samaritans were transferred to northern Israel and adjoining countries.  Although the Samaritans were freed from Babylon, they brought their pagan religions with them and combined them with Old Testament Jewish traditions. The Jews were unaccepting of this pairing of religions and considered the Samaritans to be opportunists due to their wishy-washy behavior of pretending to be Jewish when times were good and reverting to being Samaritans when times were not good. Among the Samaritans was the pagan priest and sorcerer Simon Magus, who had a great following in Samaria. He decided he would increase his powers as a sorcerer by combining his idol-worshipping religions with some of the Christian teachings in addition to using demonic powers to perform astonishing miracles for his followers. As Christianity spread through the preaching of the Good News, Simon Magus saw an opportunity to extend his counterfeit religion.

Following the Pentecost (after the resurrection), when the Holy Spirit descended upon the believers in Christ and bestowed special spiritual gifts, Simon was fascinated by the laying-on-of-hands for healing and other miracles. He believed that because he was important in Samaria and worshipped as a living god, he deserved having the apostles’ powers. The custom of buying and selling demonic powers was not uncommon among sorcerers. He thought the apostles would buy and sell powers, too. Furthermore, he not only wanted the spiritual gifts but wanted to become an apostle.

Simon Magus waited until Simon Peter and John arrived in Samaria before he attempted to buy the Christians’ spiritual gifts. The offer was refused with a strong rebuke from Peter who called Simon Magus out as a pagan idol worshiper and not qualified to be an apostle. [Jesus Christ gave the commissions to his apostles who in turn called upon the Lord to help choose Mathis by lot to replace Judas. Not only that requirement, but an apostle had to be a witness to seeing Christ after His resurrection].

 Peter’s rebuke also carried a prophecy about Simon Magus: When Peter said that Simon Magus would be the gall of bitterness, he was telling Simon that he would be held responsible for introducing paganism and its idols into Christianity (See Deut. 29: 16-18; Acts 8). Simon convinced Phillip that he wanted to be baptized as a Christian and Phillip complied. Simon never repented as well as being dishonest about his baptism – it was just a way of gaining membership into the True Church. By 62 CE when Luke wrote the Acts, the entire populace of Samaria had been taught that Simon was truly a Christian and the head of the only true Christians and the apostle to the gentiles. In apocryphal writings, it is written that he is known for his great sorcery, but a corrupt Samaritan.

According to Britannica, “Simon Magus lived during the first century CE. He professed to be a Christian who offered to pay for supernatural powers and transmuting the Holy Spirit. This gave rise to the term ‘Simony’ as the buying and selling sacred or ecclesiastical office. In some early Christian writings, he is identified as the father of post-Christian Gnosticism, a dualistic religious sect advocating salvation through secret knowledge and the archetype heretic of the Christian Church.”

* * *

Copyright 2021 By Joan Berry

Note: Because I am writing a synopsis (summary), you may want to read the starred * reference below. It is the best account on this topic I could find. Very detailed – 58 pages.

Part II of this series to come.

Sources:

A Historical and Spiritual View of the Seven Churches of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. (2019). Berry, J.  ISBN 978-1-79472-2.

Bebe’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. (731). Bebe, priest and, historian. England.

Berry, V. J. (2016). Why Historical Phenomena Instigates Resistance to Female Clergy. ISBN 978-1-365-40463-4.   Berry, J. The Original Love, Learn and Live in Christ. Joan-berry.com

Bible Gateway.com (n.d.). https://w.w.w.biblegateway.com

Carriere, J. (1977). The Gnostics.  E. P. Dutton. New York; NY; Peter Owen Pub.2014.

Cave, W. (1840). The Lives of the Apostles…London, Eng. Oxford by J. Vincent.

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, May 6). Simon MagusEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Simon-Magus

Duck, Daymond R. (1998).  Revelation: God’s Word for the Biblical Inept. Lancaster PA. Starburst Publishers.

Fletcher, I. V. (1984). The Incredible History of God’s Church . . . Altadena CA. Triumph Publishing Co.

Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text. (1957). Lamsa, George M. Trans,).  From the Aramaic of the Peshitta.  Harper, San Francisco.

Hunt, D. (1994). A Woman Rides the Beast. Eugene OR: Harvest House Pub.

Jameson, A. (1857). Sacred and Legendary Art. London Eng.: Longman, Brown, Green Pub.

 Josephus: The Complete Works. (1998). Whiston, William, Trans.). Nashville TN.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Life Application New Testament Commentary. (2011). Barton, Bruce et al. Wheaton IL. Tyndale Publishers

Lujack, G. (n.d.). Simon Magus: Catholicism’s First Pope. catholicism’s-first-pope-1544884.pdf

Martin, E. L. & Keyser, J.D. Simon Magus and the origin of the Catholic Church (n.d.). w.w.w.hope-of-isreal.org

McGraph, Alister. (2011). Christian Theology 5th ed. Kings College. London UK. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

New King James Study Bible. (2007). Radmacher, Earl D. general editor. Nashville TN. Harper.

Newman, D. (1685). The Lives and Deaths of the Holy Apostles. Ann Arbor MI, London Eng.; University of Michigan microfilm.

Olson, G. (1986). The Apostasy of the Last Century. Nordica S. F. Ltd. Hong Kong, China. 

Rome into 10 Parts; Divisions of the West. (2014).  Amazing Bible Timelines with World History. https://amazingbibletimelinewith world history.com

The Amplified Bible. (1987). Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan House publishers.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Cristian Standard Bible. (2017). Cabal, Ted, general editor. Nashville TN. Holman Bible Publishers.

The Christian  Theology Reader 4th ed. (2011). McGrath, Alister, ed. Kings College, London UK. Wiley-Blackwell.

Walsh, J. E. (2013). The Bones of St. Peter. Manchester NH. Sophia Institute Press

Bible references:

Acts 8: 9-21; 1: 23-26

II Thess. 2: 7

Matt. 10: 5-6

John 4: 9, 12

Rev. 2: 9; 3: 9; 2: 2; 2:20; 17; 18

I Kings 16: 31 Jezebel

I Kings 12: 28-30

II Kings 17: 24-41

II Chron. 11: 14

Num. 23; 22: 4-5 Peter temple

Deut. 23: 4

What you might not know about Simon Magus And his creation of the counterfeit-Christion church

Part II

What you might not know about Simon Magus

And his creation of the counterfeit-Christion church

Copyright 2021 by Joan Berry

After Simon Peters’ rebuke as discussed in Part I, Simon Magus went about creating his own church. He fully intended to replace Jesus and mix His teachings with those of his pagan religions. He further created mystical rites, initiation enchantments, and various sacraments that remain to this day, [This topic will be detailed later]. Gnostic religions were common at that time with its mystical and secret rites,

Gnosticism contained just enough of the gospel to attract Christians away from the apostolic church. In Rome, the Christian leaders failed to teach its members the difference between the true church and its counterfeit by Simon Magus. Gnostics also believed in secret knowledge that was forbidden to be shared outside their cult. One of their more restrictive dogmas was that marriage for sexual reproduction was evil and worthless; sexual pleasure was forbidden.

 Parts of all of these religious ideas were combined by Simon Magus to create a universal (catholic) church. Simon Magus claimed to be a Christian, but in reality he was preaching paganism in the name of Christianity. Just as Jesus’ apostles ventured forth to spread the Good News through Asia Minor, Samaria, Palestine, and parts of Europe, Simon Magus adherents also traveled the same routes.

Following is an example of Simon’s power in 42 C.E. when Claudius Caesar was the emperor of the Roman Empire:  In this account, Simon Magus arrived in Rome and demonstrated many of his magical powers for the emperor, who was so impressed that he declared the sorcerer to be a god and had a statue honoring him placed between two bridges on the Tiber River. Simon Magus became a favorite of the emperor as well as his successor, Nero. Furthermore, to show how important the event was, prior to the emperor’s honoring Simon Magus, it was forbidden to erect a statue to any man regarded as a god or celebrating someone of honor.

Meanwhile Simon Peter had been traveling after spending two years in Rome. He remained in Britain for a period of time, and then to Pontus and other Jewish communities, Antioch, and Jerusalem, According to historians, he spent most of his time traveling in European countries and finally returned to Rome in the late years of Nero’s reign as emperor of the Roman Empire. When he arrived in Rome in 67C.E. he found that much of the populace seemed to be acting as if they were under a spell and were rejecting apostolic teaching because Simon Magus had enticed the people with his sorceries. This prompted  Peter to begin preaching against the heresies of Simon Magus.

There are several accounts of how Simon Magus died, but the following account is provable:  The confrontations between the two Simons came to the point that Simon Peter challenged Simon Magus to a test of powers.  The contest took place in front of the forum in the presence of the prefect of Rome and an audience. A kinsman of the prefect had previously died. Simon Magus bragged that he could raise the young man from the dead, but he failed. However, Simon Peter restored the man to life. Every test was met in a success for the apostle. The final test came from Simon Magus who decided to fly above the forum to impress the prefect and be richly rewarded. He jumped from a tower that stood on the hill behind the forum and as he levitated from there, Simon Peter rebuked the evil spirits that were holding him up and Simon crashed to the ground crushing his feet and breaking a leg. He survived the fall, only to have his feet amputated, and died from the poor care by unskilled doctors.

Christians were still being persecuted because they were considered by Nero to be a danger to the empire and he was known to dislike Simon Peter. When the news of Simon Magus’ death and who was responsible for it reached Nero in Greece, he ordered the arrest of Simon Peter who then was held in the Mamertine Prison until Nero’s return. The emperor was well known for his cruelty and not long after his return to Rome, he ordered Peter’s crucifixion in the famed Circus [some of which exists today].

Simon Peter was first buried beside the chariot race track at the Circus until his fellow Christians removed his body and reinterred it near the Triumph Way and built a small church over the grave. Peter’s bones had been placed in a small bronze casket. Around 220 C. E., the church was destroyed and Peter’s bones were once again removed. This time, they were moved to a cemetery on the Appian Way about two miles from Rome. In this place Peter and Paul’s remains shared a grave. Emperor Constantine, to please the populace, removed the bones of Peter and Paul from the Appian Way and placed them in a grave along with the bones of Simon Magus beneath his recently constructed basilica.

Peter and Paul’s remains were removed one more and final time. In 656 C. E., Pope Vitalian determined that the Roman Catholic Church no longer cared about the relics and had them delivered to King Oswy of Britain. The arrival of the relics was recorded along with the letter from the pope. Today, these items remain available in the archives of Canterbury Cathedral.

* *

Part III covers Simon Magus and his influence in the Roman Catholic Church.

Sources

Bible Gateway.com (n.d.). https://w.w.w.biblegateway.com

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, May 6). Simon MagusEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Simon-Magus

Duck, Daymond R. (1998).  Revelation: God’s Word for the Biblical Inept. Lancaster PA. Starburst Publishers

Grudem, W. (1994). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine. Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Pub.

Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text. (1957). Lamsa, George M. Trans,).  From the Aramatic of the Peshitta.  Harper, San Francisco.

 Josephus: The Complete Works.(1998). Whiston, William, Trans.). Nashville TN.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Life Application New Testament Commentary. (2011). Barton, Bruce et  al. Wheaton IL. Tyndale Publishers.

*Martin, E. L. & Keyser, J.D. Simon Magus and the origin of the Catholic Church (n.d.). w.w.w.hope-of-isreal.org

McGraph, Alister. (2011). Christian Theology 5th ed. Kings College. London UK. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

New  King James Study Bible. (2007). Radmacher, Earl D. general editor. Nashville TN. Harper.

The Amplified Bible. (1987). Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan House publishers.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Cristian Standard Bible. (2017). Cabal, Ted, general editor. Nashville TN. Holman Bible Publishers.

The Christian  Theology Reader 4th ed. (2011). McGraph, Alister, ed. Kings College, London UK. Wiley-Blackwell.

Bible references:

Acts 8: 9-21; 1: 23-26

II Thess. 2 : 7

Matt. 10: 5-6

John 4: 9,  12

Rev. 2: 9; 3: 9; 2: 2; 2:20

I Kings 16: 31 Jezebel

I Kings 12: 28-30

II Kings 17: 24-41

II Chron. 11: 14

.

Part III: Simon Magas Lives on and not Forgotten

Simon Magas Lives on and not Forgotten

Copyright 2021 by Joan Berry

Returning briefly to the time of Constantine, further information is needful. His huge basilica was built over an area known as Vaticanum where the grave of Simon Magus existed. In those days where a temple was situated became holy ground. Old temples were completely covered over and new ones were built over the old site. However, in this case, the holy place was the tomb of Simon Magas that was of pagan architecture and no visible Christian elements. It also featured shelves on which idols rested. Furthermore, Constantine did not disturb the memorial that covered the grave. Instead, he had the basilica erected over it with the grave directly beneath the high altar. At this point, the bones of Simon Peter and Paul bones were added to the gravesite as discussed in Part II. Also discussed in Part II was the information that Pope Vitalian sent the bones of the apostles, in 656 CE, to King Owsy of Britain.

Moving forward to the 16th century, Constantine’s basilica in Rome had fallen into great disrepair and was demolished. It would take more than a century to complete the construction of its replacement. The new basilica was much larger and grander to the point of majestic. It stands today as St, Peter’s in Vatican City.  During the construction of St. Peter’s, there was no intrusion of the graves under the high altar and they remained accessible.

Simon Magas entered the modern world in 1939 as a result of the death of Pope Pius IV. There was no room for the pope’s interment beneath the church’s central aisle and renovations had to be made. Not long after the pope’s burial, the decision was made to create an underground chapel as part of the renovations. During the excavation, workers uncovered graves from the 3rd and 2nd centuries. As they approached the high alter level, bones that later proved to be from the first century were discovered. The workers believed they found the remains of the apostle, Simon Peter. However, the bones proved to be from the 4th century.

As the excavation continued, the workers discovered a slab covering a grave. They removed the slab expecting to see more bones, but the pit looked empty. The excavation foreman jumped into the pit and found a chamber with four-foot sides and a dirt floor. He cleared enough debris away from a small opening until a large gap was exposed.  He and Monsignor Kass, who was assigned to care for the bones from the excavation, could peer inside. They could see bones and the foreman carefully removed them along with some clinging debris. They placed them in a box for safekeeping. The contents were later described as shreds of purple cloth with gold threads, a few coins, and bones.

We move ahead again several years when this same box was found in a Vatican storeroom and given to Professor Correnti to examine and to evaluate. He noted that the cloth was purple with gold thread; the skeleton was from the first century; the skeleton was complete except for the ankles and feet and that the leg bones had been injured. The professor described the remains as being that of a tall man of heavy stature; about the age of Simon Magus; and further examination showed that the body had been taken from the ground and wrapped in a purple gold-threaded material.

In 1964, the University of Rome compared soil samples from the basilica’s central grave and the courtyard in front of Simon Magus’memorail. The conclusion reached revealed that the soil matched the soil scraped from the bones and was not the type found on Vatican Hill. With that result, it was considered proof that the bones were those of Simon Magas.

 In 1968, Pope Paul VI announced that the bones of St. Peter, the apostle, had been found and identified. He went on to tell about how the bones had been discovered among the ancient structures beneath the basilica. And then, went into the detail of the studies, further declaring their accuracy. The day after announcement, the bones were placed in the empty chamber beneath the high altar. And if that was not enough, the chamber had a small opening where privileged people could see the bones in transparent containers. They saw the bones of Simon Magas. His bones were returned to their intended place beneath the high altar where the pagan Constantine wanted them to be. Remember, the bones of the true apostle Simon Peter had been resting in Britain’s Canterbury Cathedral since 656CE.

Next week:  Part IV: The Catholic Church Accepts Simon Magas’ Teachings.

Sources:

Bebe’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. (731). Bebe, priest and, historian. England.

Berry, V. J. (2016). Why Historical Phenomena Instigates Resistance to Female Clergy. ISBN 978-1-365-40463-4.

Berry

Bible Gateway.com (n.d.). https://w.w.w.biblegateway.com

Carriere, J. (1977). The Gnostics.  E. P. Dutton. New York; NY; Peter Owen Pub.2014.

Cave, W. (1840). The Lives of the Apostles…London, Eng. Oxford by J. Vincent.

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, May 6). Simon MagusEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Simon-Magus

Duck, Daymond R. (1998).  Revelation: God’s Word for the Biblical Inept. Lancaster PA. Starburst Publishers.

Fletcher, I. V. (1984). The Incredible History of God’s Church . . . Altadena CA. Triumph Publishing Co.

Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text. (1957). Lamsa, George M. Trans,).  From the Aramaic of the Peshitta.  Harper, San Francisco.

Hunt, D. (1994). A Woman Rides the Beast. Eugene OR: Harvest House Pub.

Jameson, A. (1857). Sacred and Legendary Art. London Eng.: Longman, Brown, Green Pub.

 Josephus: The Complete Works. (1998). Whiston, William, Trans.). Nashville TN.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Life Application New Testament Commentary. (2011). Barton, Bruce et al. Wheaton IL. Tyndale Publishers.

Martin, E. L. & Keyser, J.D. Simon Magus and the origin of the Catholic Church (n.d.). w.w.w.hope-of-isreal.org

McGraph, Alister. (2011). Christian Theology 5th ed. Kings College. London UK. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

New King James Study Bible. (2007). Radmacher, Earl D. general editor. Nashville TN. Harper.

Newman, D. (1685). The Lives and Deaths of the Holy Apostles. Ann Arbor MI, London Eng.; University of Michigan microfilm.

Olson, G. (1986). The Apostasy of the Last Century. Nordica S. F. Ltd. Hong Kong, China. 

Rome into 10 Parts;  Divisions of the West. (2014).  Amazing Bible Timelines with World History.

The Amplified Bible. (1987). Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan House publishers.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Cristian Standard Bible. (2017). Cabal, Ted, general editor. Nashville TN. Holman Bible Publishers.

The Christian  Theology Reader 4th ed. (2011). McGrath, Alister, ed. Kings College, London UK. Wiley-Blackwell.

Walsh, J. E. (2013). The Bones of St. Peter. Manchester NH. Sophia Institute Press

Bible references:

Acts 8: 9-21; 1: 23-26

II Thess. 2: 7

Matt. 10: 5-6

John 4: 9,  12

Rev. 2: 9; 3: 9; 2: 2; 2:20

I Kings 16: 31 Jezebel

I Kings 12: 28-30

II Kings 17: 24-41

II Chron. 11: 14

Num. 23; 22: 4-5 Peter temple

Deut. 23: 4

Part III

Simon Magas Lives on and not Forgotten

Copyright 2021 by Joan Berry

Returning briefly to the time of Constantine, further information is needful. His huge basilica was built over an area known as Vaticanum where the grave of Simon Magus existed. In those days where a temple was situated became holy ground. Old temples were completely covered over and new ones were built over the old site. However, in this case, the holy place was the tomb of Simon Magas that was of pagan architecture and no visible Christian elements. It also featured shelves on which idols rested. Furthermore, Constantine did not disturb the memorial that covered the grave. Instead, he had the basilica erected over it with the grave directly beneath the high altar. At this point, the bones of Simon Peter and Paul bones were added to the gravesite as discussed in Part II. Also discussed in Part II was the information that Pope Vitalian sent the bones of the apostles, in 656 CE, to King Owsy of Britain.

Moving forward to the 16th century, Constantine’s basilica in Rome had fallen into great disrepair and was demolished. It would take more than a century to complete the construction of its replacement. The new basilica was much larger and grander to the point of majestic. It stands today as St, Peter’s in Vatican City.  During the construction of St. Peter’s, there was no intrusion of the graves under the high altar and they remained accessible.

Simon Magas entered the modern world in 1939 as a result of the death of Pope Pius IV. There was no room for the pope’s interment beneath the church’s central aisle and renovations had to be made. Not long after the pope’s burial, the decision was made to create an underground chapel as part of the renovations. During the excavation, workers uncovered graves from the 3rd and 2nd centuries. As they approached the high alter level, bones that later proved to be from the first century were discovered. The workers believed they found the remains of the apostle, Simon Peter. However, the bones proved to be from the 4th century.

As the excavation continued, the workers discovered a slab covering a grave. They removed the slab expecting to see more bones, but the pit looked empty. The excavation foreman jumped into the pit and found a chamber with four-foot sides and a dirt floor. He cleared enough debris away from a small opening until a large gap was exposed.  He and Monsignor Kass, who was assigned to care for the bones from the excavation, could peer inside. They could see bones and the foreman carefully removed them along with some clinging debris. They placed them in a box for safekeeping. The contents were later described as shreds of purple cloth with gold threads, a few coins, and bones.

We move ahead again several years when this same box was found in a Vatican storeroom and given to Professor Correnti to examine and to evaluate. He noted that the cloth was purple with gold thread; the skeleton was from the first century; the skeleton was complete except for the ankles and feet and that the leg bones had been injured. The professor described the remains as being that of a tall man of heavy stature; about the age of Simon Magus; and further examination showed that the body had been taken from the ground and wrapped in a purple gold-threaded material.

In 1964, the University of Rome compared soil samples from the basilica’s central grave and the courtyard in front of Simon Magus’memorail. The conclusion reached revealed that the soil matched the soil scraped from the bones and was not the type found on Vatican Hill. With that result, it was considered proof that the bones were those of Simon Magas.

 In 1968, Pope Paul VI announced that the bones of St. Peter, the apostle, had been found and identified. He went on to tell about how the bones had been discovered among the ancient structures beneath the basilica. And then, went into the detail of the studies, further declaring their accuracy. The day after announcement, the bones were placed in the empty chamber beneath the high altar. And if that was not enough, the chamber had a small opening where privileged people could see the bones in transparent containers. They saw the bones of Simon Magas. His bones were returned to their intended place beneath the high altar where the pagan Constantine wanted them to be. Remember, the bones of the true apostle Simon Peter had been resting in Britain’s Canterbury Cathedral since 656CE.

Next week:  Part IV: The Catholic Church Accepts Simon Magas’ Teachings.

Sources:

Bebe’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. (731). Bebe, priest and, historian. England.

Berry, V. J. (2016). Why Historical Phenomena Instigates Resistance to Female Clergy. ISBN 978-1-365-40463-4.

Berry

Bible Gateway.com (n.d.). https://w.w.w.biblegateway.com

Carriere, J. (1977). The Gnostics.  E. P. Dutton. New York; NY; Peter Owen Pub.2014.

Cave, W. (1840). The Lives of the Apostles…London, Eng. Oxford by J. Vincent.

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, May 6). Simon MagusEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Simon-Magus

Duck, Daymond R. (1998).  Revelation: God’s Word for the Biblical Inept. Lancaster PA. Starburst Publishers.

Fletcher, I. V. (1984). The Incredible History of God’s Church . . . Altadena CA. Triumph Publishing Co.

Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text. (1957). Lamsa, George M. Trans,).  From the Aramaic of the Peshitta.  Harper, San Francisco.

Hunt, D. (1994). A Woman Rides the Beast. Eugene OR: Harvest House Pub.

Jameson, A. (1857). Sacred and Legendary Art. London Eng.: Longman, Brown, Green Pub.

 Josephus: The Complete Works. (1998). Whiston, William, Trans.). Nashville TN.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Life Application New Testament Commentary. (2011). Barton, Bruce et al. Wheaton IL. Tyndale Publishers.

Martin, E. L. & Keyser, J.D. Simon Magus and the origin of the Catholic Church (n.d.). w.w.w.hope-of-isreal.org

McGraph, Alister. (2011). Christian Theology 5th ed. Kings College. London UK. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

New King James Study Bible. (2007). Radmacher, Earl D. general editor. Nashville TN. Harper.

Newman, D. (1685). The Lives and Deaths of the Holy Apostles. Ann Arbor MI, London Eng.; University of Michigan microfilm.

Olson, G. (1986). The Apostasy of the Last Century. Nordica S. F. Ltd. Hong Kong, China. 

Rome into 10 Parts;  Divisions of the West. (2014).  Amazing Bible Timelines with World History.

The Amplified Bible. (1987). Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan House publishers.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Cristian Standard Bible. (2017). Cabal, Ted, general editor. Nashville TN. Holman Bible Publishers.

The Christian  Theology Reader 4th ed. (2011). McGrath, Alister, ed. Kings College, London UK. Wiley-Blackwell.

Walsh, J. E. (2013). The Bones of St. Peter. Manchester NH. Sophia Institute Press

Bible references:

Acts 8: 9-21; 1: 23-26

II Thess. 2: 7

Matt. 10: 5-6

John 4: 9,  12

Rev. 2: 9; 3: 9; 2: 2; 2:20

I Kings 16: 31 Jezebel

I Kings 12: 28-30

II Kings 17: 24-41

II Chron. 11: 14

Num. 23; 22: 4-5 Peter temple

Deut. 23: 4

The Roman Catholic Church Accepts Simon Magas’ Pagan Dogma

Part  IV

The Roman Catholic Church Accepts Simon Magas’ Pagan Dogma

Copyright 2021 by Joan Berry

Following the deaths of the apostles, Peter and Paul, the counterfeit-Christian church gained acceptance over the true Christian church. By the end of the First Century, the pure and unpretentious teachings of Jesus were being set aside in favor of pomp and circumstance, ornate robes of purple and scarlet, and the crown-like headdresses. In addition, there were mysterious rites and incantations, false teachings, and idols. At some point, the popes were selling tolerances as forgiveness of bad behavior. The popes decided that they were like gods and everything had to have their authorization. No longer could a person have a personal relationship with Jesus. They had to confess their sins to a priest who claimed to have the power to forgive. And then, the priest would give out some kind of punishment for whatever offense the person committed. So powerful were the popes and bishops, that by the end of the First Century, they could order the ex-communication of true-church members because they would not accept the pagan practices of the counterfeit-Christian church.

During the Second Century, Pope Victor was the first Roman pope who was clannish with the Imperial Court resulting in the pope pressing claims for Universal (Catholic) Dominion. The outcome of a conflict with the Christian churches at Ephesus and Smyrna created another change in the church. The Roman members claimed that Jesus could be praised, but they did not believe He would neither return, nor set up the kingdom of God. They also wanted the church to be established in Rome instead of Jerusalem. This mixed group of believers ended up charged with being heretics and had to escape the reach of the pope by fleeing to the mountains in Europe or stay and be martyred.

Simon Magas’ counterfeit-Christian church gained further power over governments for the next 1,000 years. The pope also was endowed with the authority to massacre thousands of people who would not accept the false teachings of the Catholic Church. According to Dave Hunt (1994), three million people were killed in Spain during the Inquisition; in Rome, true Christians by the hundreds of thousands were massacred. Pope Innocent III ordered the deaths of more than one million people; the Jesuits killed 900,000 people from 1540 to 1580, and many more thousands were hanged, beheaded, burned a the stake, buried alive, and tortured to death. It was a join-or-die situation. The pope also attempted to halt the Reformation in Germany and Switzerland. Historians have estimated that during the 1000-year reign of the universal or Catholic Church that over 50 million people were killed in the name of Christianity.

Rome has been called Second Babylon because the origin of the counterfeit church started there through Simon Magas. He was a Samaritan who was a captive of the Assyrian war and held in Babylon for some time until he was released and returned to his homeland. However, he had accepted the Babylonian culture with its pagan and mystery religions and brought these abominations with him. Historians, in general, believe the woman riding the beast in Rev, 17 and 18 represents the great city of Rome [second Babylon or Vatican City]. She is dressed in purple and scarlet and drunk with the blood of the saints.

 The seven heads may represent the famous Seven Hills of Rome. The 10 horns are the 10 divisions of the early Roman Empire as follows: Franks, Huns, Visigoths, Ostrogoth’s, Heruli, Lombards, Anglo-Saxons, Suevi, Vandals, and Burgundians; many waters = masses of people. Furthermore, Rev. 18: 8 says that the seat of the Roman whore will be consumed by fire. Of course, there are other interpretations and you should read and pray for wisdom and understanding. [Some Catholic writers refer to their church as “She”].

 By the 4th Century, mentions of the words “Simon and Samaria” were seldom used concerning the counterfeit church. Later, ‘Christian’ also faded and Simon Magas’ church became ‘the Universal or Catholic Church.’  However, only the name changed, not the paganism. In addition to this change, 50 or more popular sects were formed that were quickly persuaded to join the Catholic Church. Before another century passed, Simon Magas’ dogma of permitting images, incantations, libations, and other pagan practices were a part of church doctrines. There were attempts by some Christians to rid the church of its paganism, but their efforts failed.

Eusebius Pamphilus, Bishop of Caesarea, wrote a history of the Catholic Church covering the era from 1CE To 324 CE. He reports that members of the counterfeit church fell in front of pictures, images, and idols as if they were gods. Simon Magas and his partner, Helena, a pagan temple prostitute, were treated as they were the gods, Jupiter and Minerva. The Gospel of John warns of a plan to overthrow the true church. The Book of Acts of the Apostles opened the door for us to see the corruption that would infect the early Christian church. Revelations identify those who created the false doctrines that infected the True Church.

**

Part V: to come–Discussion of new information and wrap-up of the series.

Sources:

A Historical and Spiritual View of the Seven Churches of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. (2019). Berry, J.  ISBN 978-1-79472-2.

Bebe’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. (731). Bebe, priest and, historian. England.

Berry, V. J. (2016). Why Historical Phenomena Instigates Resistance to Female Clergy. ISBN 978-1-365-40463-4.   Berry, J. The Original Love, Learn and Live in Christ. Joan-berry.com

Bible Gateway.com (n.d.). https://w.w.w.biblegateway.com

Carriere, J. (1977). The Gnostics.  E. P. Dutton. New York; NY; Peter Owen Pub.2014.

Cave, W. (1840). The Lives of the Apostles…London, Eng. Oxford by J. Vincent.

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, May 6). Simon MagusEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Simon-Magus

Duck, Daymond R. (1998).  Revelation: God’s Word for the Biblical Inept. Lancaster PA. Starburst Publishers.

Fletcher, I. V. (1984). The Incredible History of God’s Church . . . Altadena CA. Triumph Publishing Co.

Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text. (1957). Lamsa, George M. Trans,).  From the Aramaic of the Peshitta.  Harper, San Francisco.

Hunt, D. (1994). A Woman Rides the Beast. Eugene OR: Harvest House Pub.

Jameson, A. (1857). Sacred and Legendary Art. London Eng.: Longman, Brown, Green Pub.

 Josephus: The Complete Works. (1998). Whiston, William, Trans.). Nashville TN.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Life Application New Testament Commentary. (2011). Barton, Bruce et al. Wheaton IL. Tyndale Publishers

Lujack, G. (n.d.). Simon Magus: Catholicism’s First Pope. catholicism’s-first-pope-1544884.pdf

Martin, E. L. & Keyser, J.D. Simon Magus and the origin of the Catholic Church (n.d.). w.w.w.hope-of-isreal.org

McGraph, Alister. (2011). Christian Theology 5th ed. Kings College. London UK. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

New King James Study Bible. (2007). Radmacher, Earl D. general editor. Nashville TN. Harper.

Newman, D. (1685). The Lives and Deaths of the Holy Apostles. Ann Arbor MI, London Eng.; University of Michigan microfilm.

Olson, G. (1986). The Apostasy of the Last Century. Nordica S. F. Ltd. Hong Kong, China. 

Rome into 10 Parts; Divisions of the West. (2014).  Amazing Bible Timelines with World History. https://amazingbibletimelinewith world history.com

The Amplified Bible. (1987). Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan House publishers.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Cristian Standard Bible. (2017). Cabal, Ted, general editor. Nashville TN. Holman Bible Publishers.

The Christian  Theology Reader 4th ed. (2011). McGrath, Alister, ed. Kings College, London UK. Wiley-Blackwell.

Walsh, J. E. (2013). The Bones of St. Peter. Manchester NH. Sophia Institute Press

Bible references:

Acts 8: 9-21; 1: 23-26

II Thess. 2: 7

Matt. 10: 5-6

John 4: 9, 12

Rev. 2: 9; 3: 9; 2: 2; 2:20; 17; 18

I Kings 16: 31 Jezebel

I Kings 12: 28-30

II Kings 17: 24-41

II Chron. 11: 14

Num. 23; 22: 4-5 Peter temple

Deut. 23: 4

Simon Magus: Catholicism’s First Pope

Part V

Simon Magus: Catholicism’s First Pope

Copyright 2021 by Joan Berry

Jesus points out in Revelations 3 who is of the Synagogue of Satan, “. . . which say they are Jews and are not, but they do lie . . .” The Samaritans were the only people in the first two centuries that claimed they were Jews when it was expedient for them. Josephus tells about the Samaritans ‘being Jews’ when times were good, but when circumstances changed, they became Samaritans again. They could hardly claim  being Jewish because their records proved their nationality as Samaritan. When Jesus commissioned the 12 apostles to go forth to preach the gospel, He plainly states that they were neither to go to the Gentiles nor go to any Samaritan city, but go to the Jews. Meanwhile, Simon Magas was gathering members for his counterfeit-Christian church. Once Simon Peter had been crucified, Simon Magas appropriated the apostle’s name and his followers became apostles.

Simon Magas claimed to be a god, but just not any god. He assumed the personification of a chief god who had powers of creation. For the most part, pagan religions required a god to have a female counterpart. He chose Helena, a temple prostitute from Tyre. She claimed that Magas created her and she was the Queen of Heaven, and Mother of the Universe.  He was the sun and she was the moon. All of this had its roots in Babylon’s paganism. At times, when they were traveling and performing the magical arts to amaze people, they would pretend to be Zeus and Sophia (wisdom). Their cult addressed them as ‘Our Lord and Our Lady.’ Centuries later, Queen of Heaven and Our Lady were applied to Mary, the Mother of God.

Simon Magus went on to deceive many, founding Roman Catholicism, usurping Simon Peter’s name, and declaring himself God on Earth and the first Catholic pope. Magus exalted himself as the first leader of the false worldwide religious system – the Roman Catholic Church. Simon Peter never served as the first pope of the Catholic Church or the bishop of Rome. Jesus) did not build the Catholic Church upon the rock of Peter (Matthew 16:16-18); He built His church upon the faithful answer that Peter gave to Jesus, that He is the Messiah (Christ), the Son of the living God. Simon Magus is the foundational rock, the lie upon which the Roman Catholic Church was built (Lujack, G. n.d.)

I hope that you, dear readers, have favorably experienced the historical and spiritual aspects of this series.  It is not a pretty story of how Jesus’ simple, pure, and unpretentious teachings were usurped and used by Satan to infect the True Christian church with paganism. I looked into some of the worst things Popes have committed and I am still in shock. Some offenses were too filthy to write about. The craziest one was Pope Benedict IX whose father bought the papacy for him at age 12. When Benedict got tired of being pope, he sold his papacy, and later returned and took it back, quit, and then returned. This time he was despicable to the point of having sexual relations with animals. The Imperial guards removed him from the office of the papacy and the people ran him away from the area. Alexander was another pope removed from office for lewd and evil sexual acts as was another for raping a woman and her daughter. I suppose we should not be surprised about the charges against this counterfeit Christian church for sexually molesting our children.

The church sold indulgences for the forgiveness of sins as well as those not committed yet. A priest was burned because he objected to the practice. The popes also ordered the burning of Joan of Arc, William Tyndale, and countless women accused of witchcraft because he was paranoid.  An archbishop had Wycliffe’s body exhumed after 31 years and burned. The church is credited with organizing the collapse of the Knights Templar to appease a bankrupt king. When they were not burning the populace, they indulged in the Roman Inquisition and imprisoned Galileo. The church terrorized Jews and Muslims for 300 years.

During World War II, the Roman Catholic Church aided Hitler by providing sanctuary and false documents to help them escape. Pope Pius denied the Holocaust. The church refused to condemn the Nazi Party. 

The Catholic Church falsely teaches that our faith in Jesus is not sufficient enough for salvation.

What the Roman Catholic Church Teaches About Salvation

https://www.wayoflife.org/database/what_the…

Jul 09, 2008,· THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH’S DOCTRINE OF SALVATION CAN BE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS: 1. Rome teaches that Christ, having purchased redemption by His blood and death, delivered it to the Catholic Church to be distributed to men through her sacraments. Rome’s gospel centers in the Catholic Church, the pope, the priesthood, and the sacraments.

The final part of this series

Sources:

A Historical and Spiritual View of the Seven Churches of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. (2019). Berry, J.  ISBN 978-1-79472-2.

Bebe’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. (731). Bebe, priest and, historian. England.

Berry, V. J. (2016). Why Historical Phenomena Instigates Resistance to Female Clergy. ISBN 978-1-365-40463-4.   Berry, J. The Original Love, Learn and Live in Christ. Joan-berry.com

Bible Gateway.com (n.d.). https://w.w.w.biblegateway.com

Carriere, J. (1977). The Gnostics.  E. P. Dutton. New York; NY; Peter Owen Pub.2014.

Cave, W. (1840). The Lives of the Apostles…London, Eng. Oxford by J. Vincent.

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, May 6). Simon MagusEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Simon-Magus

Duck, Daymond R. (1998).  Revelation: God’s Word for the Biblical Inept. Lancaster PA. Starburst Publishers.

Fletcher, I. V. (1984). The Incredible History of God’s Church . . . Altadena CA. Triumph Publishing Co.

Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text. (1957). Lamsa, George M. Trans,).  From the Aramaic of the Peshitta.  Harper, San Francisco.

Hunt, D. (1994). A Woman Rides the Beast. Eugene OR: Harvest House Pub.

Jameson, A. (1857). Sacred and Legendary Art. London Eng.: Longman, Brown, Green Pub.

 Josephus: The Complete Works. (1998). Whiston, William, Trans.). Nashville TN.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Life Application New Testament Commentary. (2011). Barton, Bruce et al. Wheaton IL. Tyndale Publishers

Lujack, G. (n.d.). Simon Magus: Catholicism’s First Pope. catholicism’s-first-pope-1544884.pdf

Martin, E. L. & Keyser, J.D. Simon Magus and the origin of the Catholic Church (n.d.). w.w.w.hope-of-isreal.org

McGraph, Alister. (2011). Christian Theology 5th ed. Kings College. London UK. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

New King James Study Bible. (2007). Radmacher, Earl D. general editor. Nashville TN. Harper.

Newman, D. (1685). The Lives and Deaths of the Holy Apostles. Ann Arbor MI, London Eng.; University of Michigan microfilm.

Olson, G. (1986). The Apostasy of the Last Century. Nordica S. F. Ltd. Hong Kong, China. 

Rome into 10 Parts; Divisions of the West. (2014).  Amazing Bible Timelines with World History. https://amazingbibletimelinewith world history.com

The Amplified Bible. (1987). Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan House publishers.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Cristian Standard Bible. (2017). Cabal, Ted, general editor. Nashville TN. Holman Bible Publishers.

The Christian  Theology Reader 4th ed. (2011). McGrath, Alister, ed. Kings College, London UK. Wiley-Blackwell.

Walsh, J. E. (2013). The Bones of St. Peter. Manchester NH. Sophia Institute Press

Bible references:

Acts 8: 9-21; 1: 23-26

II Thess. 2: 7

Matt. 10: 5-6

John 4: 9, 12

Rev. 2: 9; 3: 9; 2: 2; 2:20; 17; 18

I Kings 16: 31 Jezebel

I Kings 12: 28-30

II Kings 17: 24-41

II Chron. 11: 14

Num. 23; 22: 4-5 Peter temple

Deut. 23: 4

The matter of Marxism: Black Lives Matter is rooted in a soulless ideology. Sections reprinted by permission by the Washington Post.

The matter of Marxism: Black Lives Matter is rooted in a soulless ideology. Sections reprinted by permission by the Washington Post.

I am deeply concerned about our young people being introduced to Marxism as a good thing. They are too young to understand what the effects of Marxism and Communism were and are to the freedom of people. We fought wars to keep these harmful ideology from spread as much as possible at the time.

Students of history have seen it all before. The Marxist revolutions of the 20th century that wracked Russia, China, Vietnam, North Korea and elsewhere piled up victims approaching 100 million. Thus is the bitter harvest of the perpetually angry, steeped in Marxism and deaf to the call for human kindness (Washington Post 2021).

Co-founders of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza, are followers of an ideology that could not be more anti-American and proclaim that: “We actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia in particular, we’re trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on ideological theories” (The National Pulse).

A briefly stated definition is that: Marxism is a soulless ideology incompatible with the Judeo-Christian foundations of this nation. [We are] Americans wishing to advance the Founders’ struggle “to form a more perfect union” should forswear the clenched fists of Black Lives Matter and wield the affirmative force of forgiveness (Washington Post 2021).

Ms. Cullors is unapologetic in describing Black Lives Matter founders as “trained Marxists,” so it’s worth examining the words that inspire their deeds. Marxism, the 19th-century worldview systematized by German revolutionary Karl Marx, is fundamentally atheistic. It subscribes to a theory that matter — physical stuff — comprises the fundamental reality of human existence. The transcendent experiences of the human heart are regarded as nothing more than biochemistry — fantasies of brain function. Stuff, whether molecule or man, is just soulless stuff. In short, matter doesn’t really matter (Washington Post 2021).

Americans watching the Black Lives Matter demonstrations on TV have been witnessing the handiwork of “trained Marxists” practicing the dialectic. The hair-trigger harpies screaming obscenities in the faces of police officers attempting to keep the peace, the masked bullies yanking down statues of historical figures, the hooded guerrillas hurling Molotov cocktails — all are putting Marxist ideology into action.

Students of history have seen it all before. The Marxist revolutions of the 20th century that wracked Russia, China, Vietnam, North Korea and elsewhere piled up victims approaching 100 million. Thus is the bitter harvest of the perpetually angry, steeped in Marxism and deaf to the call for human kindness (Washington Post 2021).

Trumpet this …

Trumpet this . . .

Copyright 2020 by Joan Berry

            Trumpets play an important role in the lives of Israelites. The instrument is prominent as Joshua conquers Jericho and in many other occasions. Silver trumpets are associated with redemption or war and used only by the priests; and the trumpets could sound 100 notes.  The shofar (ram’s horn) is also used in feasts and other special events. In some writings trumpet and shofar are used interchangeably; and in other writings, it is not clear what instrument is being used. However, both the trumpet and shofar remain important parts of Jewish lives as well as the Christian faith. Many Bible scholars believe the seven main feasts to be discussed are a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ and the rapture of the Church (Seventh trumpet in Revelation).

            Beginning in spring, on the New Moon, priests sound two silver trumpets to announce the New Year and the Feast of Passover, also known as the Feast of Weeks, representing the flight from Egypt with Moses and the sojourn in the wilderness. On that first Passover in Nissan, the Israelites were told to slay a lamb and place its blood on their doorframes. This was the night all the firstborn in Egypt were slain except for the Israelites who were protected by the blood of the lamb. Christ was crucified during the Passover and gave his blood to cover our sins. He is also the firstborn of His father, God.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread. During the Exodus, there was no time to wait for the leavening of bread, escaping Egypt was imminent.  During the Last Supper, unleavened bread was served. In the Bible, Leavening is a symbol of sin. The Feast of Unleavened bread represents sinless perfection. In remembrance of Jesus at the Last Supper, He broke the unleavened bread, to symbolize His sinlessness and that His body that would be broken on the cross. The wine represented the blood he would he would give. Now, when Jesus told the apostles to eat the bread (His body) and drink the wine (His Blood), He was not trying to get them or us to turn into cannibals. He was telling them to take this remembrance into their hearts and minds. The bread and wine are symbolic as well as the eating and drinking. The bread and wine do not miraculously turn into the body and blood of our Lord, they are symbolic. Regarding the precious blood of the Lord, He did not “spill” his blood for us, spilling something is accidental; He sacrificed his body and blood as planned by Almighty God to provide our salvation. Jesus was buried during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Feast of the First Fruits is observed on the day of the following Sabbath. Offerings of wheat are usually made for this feast due to the current harvest of this crop. This feast acknowledges the fertility of the land that God gave to them. No one could eat of the first harvest until the feast began. Jesus was resurrected during this event becoming the first fruit of those who had died.

The Feast of Pentecost occurs fifty days after the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when a new meat offering is offered to God. This event occurs in May or June (Christian calendar) marking the summer harvest.  This is an occasion for the people to give thanksgiving to the Lord being so merciful to them.  Pentecost is especially important to Christians because this is the event when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and other believers present. They became the first fruits of the Church. Two loaves of bread were waved at this feast and it is believed that they represent Israel and the Christian church. It was on this occasion that the Church  was born.

            The fall feasts begin with the Feast of the Trumpets. According to Leviticus, it was required by God that on the first day of the seventh month (September on Christian calendar), Israelites were to have a memorial of blowing the trumpets. No work is to be done during this feast and only burnt or sin offerings could be offered. Christians associate the trumpets with the trumpets of judgement in the Revelation. 

               Following the Feast of the Trumpets is the Day of Atonement, the holiest of the festivals. It occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month (Sept. on Christian calendar) when an offering is made by fire to God. It is a day of confessions and asking for forgiveness and as the feast comes to a close, there is a long and solemn blowing of the trumpets. It symbolizes the gates of Heaven closing – a warning to get right with God before it becomes too late.

            The seventh feast, The Feast of Tabernacles, also occurs in the the seventh month (Sept. on Christian Calendar) on the fifthteenth day. Israelites traveled to Jerusalem where they built temporary shelters and stayed there for a week. This occasion represented the sheltering of God’s people the wilderness. Currently, Israelites build little booths outside their residences to memorialize the tabernacles their ancestors built in their ancient sojourn.

Summary: Moses, at God’s command, instituted the first three feasts; and then came the Pentecost. These four feasts have been fulfilled. If you follow the idea of the seven feasts foreshadowing the life of Christ, then the other three are yet to be fulfilled. 

The trumpets will sound and the “Catching up” or Rapture will occur marking the return of Christ.

The Day of Atonement will become the Day of Judgement with Jesus being mediator and His blood our sacrifice.

Each year, the Israelites build little booths outside their residences to memorialize the tabernacles their ancestors built in the wilderness. Jesus told us that in his father’s house, there are many mansions (shelters, tabernacles).

Sources:

Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Aramaic of the Peshitta. 1957. G. Lamsa, translator. New York, NY. A. J.  Holman. Bible Publisher.

Life Application Study Bible NIV. (2005). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Carol Stream IL; Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI.

New King James Version Study Bible (2nd ed). 2007. Thomas Nelson, Nashville TN. Editors: E. D. Radmacher, R. A. Allen, and H. W. House.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Christian Standard Bible. (2017). T. Cabol, Ed. Nashville TN

The Jewish Nation, Containing an Account of Their Manners and Customs. (1848). London UK.

The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy. (2004). LaHaye. T. and Hinson, E. (Eds). Eugene OR; Harvest House Pub. .

Scripture references:

Numbers 10:10

I Cor. 5: 72, 5:7-8, 15: 20-23

Joel 2:28

Acts 2: 1-47

Matt 24: 21-23

John 7: 2, 37-39.

The Great “I AM”

The Great “I AM”

Copyright 2020 by Joan Berry

Exodus 3:13-15.Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations’ (NKJV 2007).

I AM, as translated from the ancient Koine Greek “Ego eim`e,” means I exist and It is. That is a powerful declaration. He is a living God who created the universe, what He is, and what He wills to be. He is omnipotent. He is everything to us. The I Am in the Old Testament declares God’s existence, His authority and proclaims His greatness (the Great I AM).  Jesus, in the New Testament, declares His identity to show who He is. He also is everything to mankind and the only way to God. Jesus proclaims His “I AMs” in the Book of John where he equates Himself with the Great I AM. The most important of all the statements are in John after Jesus tells them’ I am not of this world’ (NKJV 2007).

There are over 300 I AMs from Genesis to the Revelation that are connected to God and Jesus. In the Book of John alone, there are seven, plus Jesus’ admission that He is not of this world.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [a]comprehend it (John 1:1 NIV 2005).

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18: 36 NIV 2005).

But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world (John 8:23 NIV 2005).

Jesus’ I AM statements in the Book of John:  John 8: 12-13; 10: 1, 9: 10: 14; 11:2-5; 14:6; and 15:5.

I AM the bread of life.

I AM the light of the world.

I AM the door.

I AM the good shepherd.

I AM the resurrection and the life.

I AM the way, the truth and the life.

I AM the true vine.

Sources:

Life Application Study Bible. (2005). Grand Rapids MI: Tendale House Publishing, Carol Stream, IL, and Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI.

New King James Version Study Bible. (2007). Nashville TN: Thomas Nelson.

NOTICE !!!

Always check the last pages of this blog for new material. I try to publish new articles on the first page, but sometimes I get in a hurry and forget Joan Berry, administrator

Magog is not Russia

Read Japheth: Son of Noah to learn who Magog really is: Mistranslation of Hebrew words are not uncommon in the Old Testament. There were different versions of this ancient language due to distance between tribes and therefore hard to get the translations always correct. It has taken centuries to get it right. It is still the Word of God; it’s the translators believing they are correct are the problems, but overall, they have done their best and modern technology and finding the Dead Sea Scrolls have helped immensely. Always check the notes in your Bibles for clarification. The Torah commentary has great notes and you do not have to be Jewish to appreciate them. The new King James version study Bible is another good source. The NIV is also good. I do not use the paraphrased Bibles at all and I never recommend them. SEE the series on Noah and sons on pages 11 and 12. You might find an ancestor. Many biblical scholars jumped to the conclusion that Rosh meant Russia. This was improper research and nowhere else is it used – trying to find similar words in English. In its proper Hebrew language “rosh” means first, primary, and prominent. Magog is the most prominent son of Japheth, Magog, Tubal, and Mechech were first to settle Turkey.

Liminal Living


V. J. Berry

Copyright 2012 by V. J. Berry

            Liminal space or existence in religion is a sacred space in which dwells a sacred time. It means a threshold; for the Christian, it means we live between heaven and the world. We are ready on the threshold to step over into heaven, but have not yet received the call. Living in the liminal (limen) is also described as “in-between-ness” and “already, but not yet.”  For the Christians who are part of the Kingdom of God on Earth, this means the “already” pertains to victory over sin, death, and hell (1 Cor. 15); the “not yet” means that Christians are still living in a fallen world where sin is rampaging. We live with God’s promise of victory, but have yet to enjoy the glory of heaven. Paul wrote of this in Philippians 3:18-21. And while we wait, we live in the limen, waiting for our call to cross over the threshold.

            Theologians point to two examples in the Old Testament of liminal space. One of the examples is about Jacob’s encounter with God between Heaven and Earth (Gen. 28:12-19); the other is about Isaiah’s meeting with God in the temple of holiness (Isa. 6:1-6). Theologians also suggest that a person experiences the revelation of sacred knowledge from God in this manner.

Engaging God with All Our Senses

Engaging God with All Our Senses

V. J. Berry

Copyright 2012 by V. J. Berry

                The Scriptures tell us about God and we can get a head and heart knowledge of Him in a somewhat single dimension, but we know that God is more than that because His fundamental nature is a mystery beyond our full understanding, and it requires us to go beyond reading about Him to truly know Him by using all our five senses. Church services often include the experience of all our senses in symbolism and rites to bring us into a worshipful state of mind. In many churches, when a person enters, they see inspirational stained-glass windows; the Word of God is heard both in sermons and songs praising God. People touch each other in greetings, their Bibles, their hymnals. The faint scent of incense wafting from the censer can be detected and the taste of bread and wine from the communion lingers – all reminders of Jesus Christ, of the Father, of the Holy Spirit. When entering into the state of the senses to be with God invite Him in and throw out your ego. To love God completely, we need to submit completely, worship Him with all your senses and your mindset should be adjusted toward a relationship with Him. “Loving God is an act of the will that must engage the whole person” (K. Boa, 2001).

”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with your entire mind and with all your strength” Mark 12:30 NIV).

            We should think of God as someone we can walk and talk with on a daily basis, not as some far-off aloof deity. I cannot count the times I have heard someone say that they feel close to God when they spend time walking in a park or other wooded area where they could meditate and take a leisurely nature walk. A friend who mentors women at her church uses a nature walk in her ministry. She took me on one of her walks to demonstrate how calming and meditative the walk could be using all five senses in worshiping God.

            At the head of the trail, she told me that conversation would be kept to a bare minimum and we said a simple prayer asking God to instill the mindset that we wanted to have a relationship with Him and that we were submitting ourselves to His will, and we were willing to worship Him with our entire range of senses. I recommend that you concentrate on one sense at a time for a better and more memorable experience. How you choose the order of your senses (see, hear, touch, smell, and taste) is up to you.

            For example, let’s say you are taking this walk and will be concentrating on sight as your first sense. Look around you; what do you see? Really see? Is it the shape of leaves, insects, birds in flight, a creek, colors of nature, the sky and the clouds? They are all parts of God’s creation we look past every day in our busy lives and all which have a purpose for being. Stop along the walk, close your eyes. What do you hear? Do you hear bird songs, the hum of cicadas, the chirp of crickets, the wind rustling through the leaves, water trickling over rocks, the voice of God?  What are you stopping to touch? Is it the texture of bark, the smoothness of a river rock, a pretty wildflower, the wind touching your skin, the hand of God? As you continue your walk with God, what do you smell? It is the earthy fragrance of loamy soil and the scent of wildflowers blending for natural incense? God gave directions to Moses in Exodus 30 on how to make incense especially for Him. And God likes the aroma of Christ in Christians (2 Cor. 2: 15-16) As for taste, it could be the sweet taste of life for the experience of walking with God or the actual taste of something you may find on your walk such as berries. I would like to think it was both. At trail’s end, it would be nice to show your appreciation for God’s creations in the natural world with a “thank you prayer.”

Mary Magdalene was not a Prostitute

Mary Magdalene was not a Prostitute

By V. J. Berry

Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute and she was not called a prostitute until the sixth century when Pope Gregory misidentified her in trying to identify a woman who washed and anointed the feet of Jesus. Mary’s name is neither mentioned in the text nor the town she from which she came. She was always addressed as Mary of Magdalena or Mary Magdalene(a).. The popes are only considered infallible by their church on doctrinal/dogmatic matters. Calling Mary a whore was not something he had a right to do. In 1969, Pope Paul VI effectively repealed and separated Mary Magdalene from this disrespectful slur on her name – over 1400 years after Gregory misidentified her. In Luke 8, she is listed with two other women and all three are considered wealthy and helped fund the ministry of Jesus.

Meditation and Contemplation Using the Protestant Rosary

Meditation and Contemplation Using the Protestant Rosary

By V.J. Berry

©2016 by V. J. Berry

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you9” 1 Thessalonians 5.

Yes, Protestants have a rosary. Most of us are familiar with the Roman Catholic rosary, but every major religious tradition has included the use of prayer beads or a prayer rope tied in intricate knots. The tradition goes back thousands of years. The Anglican/Episcopal (Protestant) rosary is different from the Roman Catholic rosary in that it has fewer beads and has no set prayers. You pray what is on your heart. There has been a recent surge of interest among Protestants to use the Anglican rosary and women’s groups in some churches are making them to distribute to encourage prayer.  Because other Protestant denominations use the Anglican rosary, it will be referred to as the Protestant rosary. The Anglican Church was the first Protestant breakaway church from the Roman Catholic Church. This article will explain the origin and meaning of the Protestant rosary, how to pray it, and how to make your own to make it more personal.

Origin of Christian Rosaries

 The origin of the Roman Catholic rosary occurred sometime between the 12th and 15th centuries. It was in the mid-1980s, when The Rev. Lynn Baumann created the Anglican rosary to aid in completive prayer1.  There is a difference between meditation and contemplation. Meditation is the active partner of contemplation in that it involves action (unhurried) through reading scripture and quiet outward prayer (usually). Contemplation is the quiet, still partner that involves being patient and waiting to receive what God offers while you pray inwardly because you have entered into the prayer of Jesus; meaning that you are spiritually alive 2.

Why pray a rosary?

The main reason for praying a rosary is that it helps deepen your prayer life. The touch of the beads aids in focusing on your prayers, and helps keep your mind from wandering. What lies in your heart, your focus, and your intent are important. The rosary is only one of several ways to engage in prayer.  “Remember, you are free to pray the rosary any way you wish. It is a private devotion3.”   We pray to talk to God and to listen to Him. The true purpose of prayer is to be calm in our spirit to allow God to speak to us. Praying the rosary is an aid to help us enter into His presence.

Difference between Catholic and Protestant (Anglican) rosaries

It may help to know the difference between the Roman Catholic and the Protestant rosaries, especially if you want to make your own or as a gift. The Protestant or Anglican rosary is made up of 33 beads while the Catholic rosary has 59. The Anglican rosary is divided into four weeks of seven days each; the Catholic rosary has five divisions of ten (decade) beads each. A single large bead separates the divisions on both rosaries. The Anglican rosary features a plain cross, while the Catholic rosary features a crucifix and small religious medal4.  The rosaries are prayed by touching the cross and each successive bead in order. The difference in this is that there are no set prayers for the Anglican prayer beads. Instead, the rosary is to be an aid to meditative prayer that Christians can adapt to their own spiritual needs. The Catholic rosary is prayed in a traditional devotional pattern that also involves the recitation of Hail Mary on each of the decade beads5.  A word of caution here, any kind of prayer in any denomination can become empty phrases. Always pray from the heart.

Symbolism

The Anglican rosary was designed to be symbolic as well as a prayer and meditation aid. The 33 beads represent the 33 years Jesus lived among us. The cross is a reminder of why Jesus died on the cross, our identity in Him, and to pick up the cross and follow Him. The Cruciform (large) beads form the points of the cross and also represent the four cardinal points of the earth, the four seasons, the sanctity of time, and the Creation. The large bead above the cross is called the Invitatory bead which is an invitation to trust God, offer our worship and praise. When the rosary is arranged in a circle, it represents God’s unending love and our Christian unity. The four groups of seven beads are called Weeks. The seven beads represent the seven days of the Creation and the Sabbath, our offerings, time, and lives. Seven is associated with completion and perfection in Hebrew and Christian mysticism. This does not mean that we have achieved perfection yet, but it is the continuing work of God in each of us toward that goal6.

According to Delaney (2013), it is traditional to use the number seven to represent spiritual perfection and contemplation. Furthermore, according to tradition, the rosary circle is prayed in an unhurried manner, bead by bead, three times to emphasize the Holy Trinity. “In the Middle Eastern tradition, 99 is the complete number for Divine names,” (Delaney, 2013). He further states that if the cross is prayed at the beginning or the end, then the total would be 100, matching the Orthodox rosary and signifies the fullness of creation. Following the rosary prayers, a period of silence is usually observed for reflection (Delaney, 2013).

Praying the rosary

            If you have not used a rosary, it will take a little practice to become comfortable using it. If at all possible pray around the rosary three times because as you settle down in the prayers, you will go deeper into them and meditation and contemplation are made more possible. Begin with holding the cross in one hand and slide the fingers of your hand over the beads. The first large bead above the Invitatory bead is the first Cruciform bead and where you begin your journal around the rosary to the right (counterclockwise). The rosary is also known as the circle of prayer

Following is an example of praying the rosary. You can write your own prayers, use scriptures, or use prayers from books printed for this purpose and inspirational poetry. If you have a Common Book of Prayer as used by the Episcopalians, there are many appropriate prayers that could be used. Let us begin.

  • The cross: In the name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
  • The Invitatory bead: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.
  • The Cruciform beads: Be the eye of God dwelling with me, the foot of Christ in guidance with me, the shower of the Spirit pouring on me, richly and generously.(Pray this on each of the four beads). After the first Cruciform bead, pause and offer thanksgiving, intercessions, and petitions, and then continue on with the Weeks beads. If you think of another prayer, pause after the next Cruciform bead and offer that prayer.
  • The Weeks: (Pray each phrase on a separate bead; repeat on all four sets; on the last round drop down to the Invitatory bead and cross and close).
    • I bow before the Father who made me,
    • I bow before the Son who saved me,
    • I bow before the Spirit who guides me in love and adoration,
    • I praise the Name of the one on high.
    • I bow before thee Sacred Three,
    • The ever One, the Trinity7.
  • The Invitatory (on the last time around): The Lord’s Prayer.
  • The Cross (on the last time around): Let us (I) bless the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 “Remember, you are free to pray the rosary any way you wish. It is a private devotion8.”                                                                                         

Making the rosary

The rosary is a time-honored pathway to prayer. You can purchase an Anglican rosary at most Christian book stores, online at Amazon or specialty sites, and some jewelry stores, or make your own. By making your own rosary, it is personal and more meaningful to you. I suggest that if you make it; start with the basic 33-bead rosary to give you a feel for how it is constructed.  You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you wish. The rosary is made for prayer and it is up to you and how you want to use your creativity.

Example The rosary below was purchased online and is made from olive wood. Spacer beads are used before and after the Cruciform (large) beads and the Invitatory bead above the Cross. The bead count for this rosary is 28 medium beads, 4 large Cruciform beads, I Invitatory bead, and a cross, and 10 small spacer beads.

Example

Protestant Rosery

                                                            Photo courtesy of R. Millsap (2009)

References

1Delaney, C. (2013). Differences between the Anglican & Catholic rosary.

3Gurri, M. Ph.D. (2013). Anglican prayer beads: Prayer for joyful journeys. Lexington, KY Joyful Rhythms

4Delaney, C. (2013). Differences between the Anglican & Catholic rosary.

5Ibid.

6Rick Millsap. (2009). The Anglican rosary. Retrieved from www.trinityreno.org/Anglican%20Rosary.pdf

7Ibid. Poem by Sister Brigit, Carol, S.D.

8Ibid. Quote by Pope John Paul II.

9Life Application Study BibleNew International Version (NIV). (2005). Carol Stream, IL:   Tyndale House Publishers.