Category Archives: Chapter 16

DIDACHE Priority, Parousia Parallels (DID 16, Mat.24, Mar 13, Lk 21, 1Co15, 1Th4

DID. 16.3

Mat 24:30-31

Mar 13:24-27

Luk 21:27-28 

1Co 15:51-52 

1Th 4:15-17

16.6 And then shall appear the signs of truth first the
sign of extension in heaven

next the sign of the trumpet call and third the
resurrection of the dead.

[16.7 not of all the dead, but, as it says, ‘the Lord shall
come, and all his holy ones with him’
.]

16.8 Then the world shall see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven,
and all the holy ones with him, on his royal throne, to judge the world-deceiver
and to reward each according to his deeds.

16.9 Then the evil shall go away into
eternal punishment but the righteous shall enter into life eternal, inheriting
those things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which has not
arisen in the heart of man. Those things which God has prepared for those
who love him.

 

DID 9.4 As this
fragment lay scattered upon the mountains and has been gathered to become
one, so gather your Church from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. For
the glory and power are yours, through Jesus Christ, forever.

10.5 Remember Lord your
Church, to preserve it from all evil and to make it perfect in your love. And,
sanctified, gather it from the four winds into your kingdom which you have
prepared for it.

And then the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in the heavens.

 

And then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the heaven with power and great glory. 

  

 

(31)  And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

 

 

LITERAL

And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet,

and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the heavens to their ends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(31)[triplicate of verse,place to show side-by-side comparison with DIDACHE Eucharist) 

And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 
(26)  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.  (27)  And then He shall send His angels and shall gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.

LITERAL

And then He will send His angels

 


and will gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of earth to the end of heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(27)  And then He shall send His angels and shall gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.

  (27)  And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  (28)  And when these things begin to happen, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near.

 

Behold, I speak a mystery to you; we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed;  (52)  in a moment, in a glance of an eye, at the last trumpet. For a trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed.

For we say this to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall not go before those who are asleep. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  (16)  For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God.

 

And the dead in Christ shall rise first.  (17)  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord.

What we have here is intriguing intertextuality which could be the key to understanding a great deal;

The “Four Winds” and the “End of the Earth” Idioms

First, note the DIDACHE and Mark and Matthew, on the ‘gathering from four winds’ and ‘ends of the earth.’  The implication to me is that Mark and Matthew know this language and its echoes in the DIDACHE Eucharistic prayer. This, in the DIDACHE, is the true gathering of the Church from the four winds and the ends of the earth. 

How, then, do the two distinctive phrase find their way into Mark and Matthew where they both operate in an entirely different context, that is, referring to what some today fashionably would call the Rapture. 

There are several possibilities. One can only speculate.  It may be that a redactor has transplanted the two idioms from their original place in the DIDACHE Eucharist, to the Matthean/Markan ‘Rapture,’ because the DIDACHE is being discredited. This I consider only a remote possibility. A more likely one is that these two phrases are inserted into Matthew as code-terms for the benefit of those who have been properly initiated into the DIDACHE baptism and its exclusivistic ‘anti-canine’ policy (DID. 9.5). Thus, when when those initiates read/hear the Gospel of Matthew (the primary Gospel, but post-dating the DIDACHE) they will understand that the portrayal of the Rapture is actually a figurative device alluding esoterically to something else.

Regarding the Markan version of the same:

Note that it, the Markan, is almost verbatim, but the differences strongly indicate (at least to me) that Mark has reworked Matthew.  (Note: Contrary to mainstream scholars, I believe in Matthean priority and Markan dependence; and I believe, again with a minority, that Mark and Luke may have been written in order to (for lack of a more discreet word) subvert the DIDACHE-Gospel.)

Mark has incorporated Matthew’s phrase into his own work.  In the above side-by-side comparison, see where I have copied the texts using a literal word-for-word translation. 

Note that Mark eliminates the Matthean allusion to the trumpet.  Believe it or not, ‘trumpet’ is a loaded word because it strongly resonates with the authentic Apostolic DIDACHE Parousia.  ‘Trumpet’ is a word which I sense may have got Paul into embarrassment in 1Th, where he was sounding imitatively apostolic in his description of the Parousia, which–as the spirit-anointing upon me leads me to suggest– was based on the DIDACHE.  But Paul erred (quite ironically!) in leaving out a very important allusion to the revelation of a Deceiver in DID. 16.3-4). And Paul was basically caught up short for his error. This necessitates writing a second letter to cover his mistake (2Th2:1ff).  In any case, Paul has over-played the trumpet, which is a memorable sign spoken of as preceding the End, as the DIDACHE announces, and which Paul picks up and embellishes in 1Th and 1Co 15.52, his rather derivative (not to say plagiarized) Parousias. (Of course, so does Luke abandon trumpets.)

Perhaps because Mark knows about the sore history of the trumpet and the troubling note it stirred for Paul, Mark deletes the reference in his Parousia.

Now the interesting question concerns Mark’s use of the two idioms of  ‘gathering of the elect from the four winds’ and also ‘from the ends of the earth.’  The first question is, does Mark even recognize that these come from the DIDACHE Eucharist?  My tentative answer is, I think not!  Here, I think is what happened.

First, I believe that Matthew quite consciously re-adapted and then integrated the DIDACHE Eucharistic prayer idiom in question, into a Matthean Parousia written some years later.  In so doing, Matthew uses this Eucharistic allusion in a manner consistent with his whole exquisite Parousia Eschatology laid out in chapters 24-25. Because of this consistency, aptness and evidence of careful thought, the use of the two idioms in both Matthew and DIDACHE is not a mere coincidence but intended.  The Eucharistic prayer was prayed as it was, and it was memorized and internalized; and too, the Matthean hope and expectation of the Lord’s gathering of the saints from the four winds, was a fervent and ultimate hope. The two interrelated events–a weekly Sabbath Maranatha feast, and final rendezvous of the saints with Lord –is really the ultimate endpoint of Christian existence, even more so, one might say, than the Judgment, which, in a sense, is a life of preparation for meeting the Lord.

(Such a shame and pity, then, that the correct DIDACHE Eucharist was eventually subverted in later Christian practice; more on that, perhaps, elsewhere.)

Then, along came Mark, writing a variant on Matthew. In this text, Mark aims to archaize and consciously to incorporate certain primitive oral-flavored diction, the better to impart the subtle suggestion to hearers/readers and modern scholars, that Mark’s own gospel’s comes earlier, thus has priority, and hence greater authenticity, vis-a-vis the DIDACHE-Gospel of the Twelve; though actually it does not.

In so doing, Mark innocently copies the Matthean sentence in question almost verbatim: ‘And then He will send His angels and will gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of earth to the end of heaven.’  In so doing, Mark leaves out only the word trumpet. What is Mark’s redactive purpose? I think Mark simply wants to seem authentic by imitative copying here, and so he follows the Matthean original without reflecting adequately on the undesired suspicion this casts upon his archaizing project.  He does not grasp the fact that these two tell-tale idioms, which Matthew has shifted out of the Eucharistic prayer of DIDACHE and into the Parousia, were already in the  Eucharistic prayer.

There are several possible reasons why, in naturalistic terms, Mark (the not-quite-clever-enough scribe) may have overlooked this leaving-of-a-fingerprint ; we could speculate quite a bit, but in any case, it happened, for some divine purpose, and Mark made a slip-up, for which I think we should rejoice.

There is also the possibility that the idioms of ‘four winds’ and ‘ends of the earth’ were simply quite commonplace, so that their usage by any author in any context is not remarkable; see Eucharist category concordances for both phrases to get a sense of their commonality.

But if, as I believe, the use of these idioms signifies intertextuality of DIDACHE with Matthew, which Mark has then re-worked, then the implications are I think momentous; for one thing this would affirm Matthean priority, against the grain with most scholars.

Consider, for another, the Matthean Parousia in chapters 24-25.  I suspect most scholars assume many of the words could not have been said by Jesus, at least not in the form presented. (I don’t mean to impugn the profession, but most scholars seem to take an extremely minimalist position almost reflexively.)  However, in this case, if, as all the evidence I marshal seems to show, the DIDACHE is authentic, then it would make perfect sense that its Eucharistic prayer would use the very language the Christ Himself used, albeit in the context of the Parousia.  It is quite remarkable to me that the two idioms about the gathering of the saints from the four winds, and the ends of the heavens, should both occur together in the Eucharist prayer (in different portions) and then be joined in the Parousia. The use of these phrases in the prayer actually gives the attribution in Matthew 24 greater credibility, I would say.  The most plausible explanation for why the phrases occur in both places is that the same community participated in writing Matthew and the DIDACHE, and still recalled the Lord’s words in some context, of gathering the saints from the four winds and from the ends of the heavens. And so the community  consisting of the Twelve apostles and their church  included these words in their Maranatha prayer.  And this same theme naturally came to mind in the Eschatological language of the End.  The Miraculous Feeding anticipates the eternal banquet with Jesus. This is why the Eucharistic cry is, ‘Maranatha!   Come Lord!  Come to us in our feast.

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Paul’s Backpeddling on the Parousia, Deferring to DIDACHE (2Th 2; DID. 16.3)

Paul writes:

2Th 2:1-17  Now we beseech you, my brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,  (2)  that you should not be soon shaken in mind or troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word or letter, as through us, as if the Day of Christ is at hand. 

(3)  Let not anyone deceive you by any means… [continues in side-by-side comparison]

As you compare, note that Paul is writing to revise a point raised in first Thessalonians (1Th); and, in that first epistles, as I show in a separate article, Paul closely follows and imitates the structure of the DIDACHE   which is of course strongly indicative of the effect and authority the DIDACHE carried). 

 

DID 16.3 2Th 2:

16.3 In the last days shall be multiplied false prophets and corruption and
shall turn the sheep into wolves and love shall turn into hate. 16.4a For with
the increase of lawlessness they shall hate one another and shall persecute and
betray. 16.4b And then shall appear the world-deceiver as a son of God and he
shall do signs and wonders and the earth
shall be betrayed into his hands and
he shall do godless things that have not been done since the beginning of the
age.
16.5 Then human creation shall pass into the fire of testing and many shall
be caused to stumble and be lost, but those who persevere in their faith shall be
saved by the curse itself.

….For that Day shall not come unless there first comes a falling away, and the man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition,  (4)  who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, setting himself forth, that he is God. 

(5)  Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?  (6)  And now you know what holds back, for him to be revealed in his own time.  (7)  For the mystery of lawlessness is already working, only he is now holding back until it comes out of the midst.  (8)  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming,  (9)  whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,  (10)  and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, so that they might be saved.  (11)  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,  (12)  so that all those who do not believe the truth, but delight in unrighteousness, might be condemned.

Paul wraps up:

(13)  But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,  (14)  to which He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (15)  Therefore, my brothers, stand fast and hold the teachings which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter.  (16)  Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,  (17)  comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.[end]

 

C O M M E N T :

Note, via my color-coding, how Paul’s interrelated ideas regarding (a) lawlessness (7-8), and then (b,c) Satanic revelatory signs (9) and lies/deceit (9-10) all follow the DIDACHE in the same logical sequence. This strongly indicates the DIDACHE in early circulation and, as with other comparative examples with Paul, in precedence to him.

Why then did Paul write 2Th?  Scholar Gerd Luedemann has suggested (in my reading of Luedemann anyway) that Paul was apparently embarrassed by his first letter, because, in it, Paul had imprudently put on the record his off-the-cuff theological imagining regarding the Second Coming (Parousia). Unfortunately for the Pauline entrepreneurs, this account by him soon turned out to be at odds with some other Parousia account in circulation. 

The latter had apparently been received in Thessaly, to Paul’s chagrin.  This other account was almost certainly the DIDACHE or ( remotely but conceivably), a proto Matthew.  In 1Th Paul had grandiosely attributed his Parousia to “the Word of the Lord” 1Th 4:15). So, this gaffe of his on paper was quite serious, and could easily be used to discredit his ministry.

In this regard, note also that 1Th and 2Th are both written quite self-consciously by Paul, not really for the benefit of the putative addressees’ edification regarding their spiritual needs at all, but, I would say, with quite a different aim in view: namely, to valorize Paul and to auto-historicize and create a paper-trail recording things like the powerful positive effect of Paul’s ministry in Greece (1Th 1); his suffering (1Th 2:2  ), his sincerity (2:5-6), gentleness, love (2:7-8), self-support (2:9), piety, and experience of persecution from the Jews just like Jesus did (2:15-16).

(Just an aside on the last, 2:15-16:  Paul’s intriguing and I would say hard-to-reconcile claim here is that the Jews prevented him from preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, because the Jews wanted Gentiles to remain ever-sinful i.e. “filled up with sin.”  This makes absolutely no sense.  Firstly, the documented early persecution was suffered by Jewish Christians who were preaching the Gospel to other Jews. There is no reason for Jews to care much about Gentiles converting to a Pauline and/or a Christian religion which the Jews don’t believe, is there?   Why should Jews give a hoot?  Secondly, Paul is preaching  a gospel of sola fide, i.e., faith without the Torah. Logically, Jews who believe in the Torah and who want Gentiles to remain “filled up with sin” as Paul claims they do, should welcome Paul’s preaching! This statement  as so much from Paul  makes no sense.)

At any rate, due to the seriously damaging discrepancies between Paul’s Parousia account in 1Th 4:14-17 and some more authoritative Parousia account in circulation (wherever it was, at this point), Paul hints in 2Th 2.2 that the first letter which contained this error may not even have been from himself!  This, at least, is Luedemann’s suggestion; see Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles and Paul, the Founder of Christianity. I find Luedemann’s view appealing; however, as I recall from reading one book (the relevant portion of which, if time permitted, I would post here) Luedemann does not cite the DIDACHE in this connection–a very curious oversight on his part; but then again, most New and Old Testament scholars I read, seem woefully incognizant of the DIDACHE’s full impact.

Please read my article on 1Th to see how closely tied to the DIDACHE Paul’s writing is.  Also, in another post that I think I will be able to get around to writing, I may explore specific insertions which Paul adds to the Parousia in several texts, insertions and allusions coming from Daniel.  It will be interesting to explore comparisons of the Synoptics and Paul. I don’t know what I will find. If you have suggestions, please offer them1  There may have been coordinated collaborative effort to harmonize the Parousia ‘Deceiver’ in the argot of the Abomination that Causes Desolation, foretold in Daniel.  This emendation, tending to subvert the DIDACHE perhaps, may signify a later stage in the conflict in which the aim is more openly and combatively to subvert the DIDACHE Gospel. Maybe we’ll see something.

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Showing Matthean Priority: DID. 16 // Matt 16 // Mk 8:34-38 // Lk 9:23-26

DID. 16:16 Mat. 16:24-8 (10:32)

Mar 8:34-38 

Luk 9:23-26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as it says, ‘the Lord shall
come, and all his holy ones with him’.]

16.8 Then the world shall see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven,
and all the holy ones with him, on his royal throne,
to judge the world-deceiver
and to reward each according to his deeds.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 

(25)  For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it.  (26)  For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  (27)  For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He shall reward each one according to his works.  (28)  Truly I say to you, There are some standing here who shall not taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.

 

Mat 10:32-33  Then everyone who shall confess Me before men, I will confess him before My Father who is in Heaven.  (33)  But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in Heaven.

And calling near the crowd with His disciples, He said to them, Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 

(35)  For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, he shall save it.  (36)  For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?  (37)  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(38)  Therefore whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man shall also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

And He said to all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 

(24)  For whoever will save his life shall lose it, but whoever will lose his life for My sake, he shall save it.  (25)  For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world and loses himself, or is cast away? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(26)  For whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words, the Son of Man shall be ashamed of him when He shall come in His own and in His Father’s glory, and that of the holy angels.

Luk 12:8-10  Also I say to you, Whoever shall confess Me before men, the Son of Man also shall confess him before the angels of God.  (9)  But he who denies Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.  (10)  And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him. But to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven.

 

If Mark came first, why would Matthew drop his phrase ‘ashamed of Me and My Words’?

It would have to be argued that Matthew did this in favor of inserting the idea of rewarding “to each according to their works.” These are unique to Matthew (and DIDACHÉ; see also Matt. 6:1-4), but are not found here in Mark or Luke, and I cannot find them elsewhere in these tracts.

A far more plausible explanation would be that Matthew and the DIDACHE came first, and that Luke and Mark came forth afterwards, as contrivances aimed at undercutting the DIDACHÉ- Gospel, and especially at undoing the strong vocabulary linkage between DIDACHE and Matthew in sharing the phrase, “to reward each according to his deeds.”

In the thesis asserting Markan priority, the suggestion must be offered that Matthew dropped ‘ashamed of me and my words,’ but this he allegedly does for no plausible or obvious reason, despite this phrase occurring in both the allegedly prior Markan source and later in Luke. It must therefore be argued that Matthew went out of his way to delete these words.  What theological reason would he have had? 

In this regard, consider that Matthew earlier has included a very similar idea already, in 10:32-33, referring to reciprocal non-confession in heaven (see purple text). Matthew should have had no qualms with any allusion to the negative consequences of being ‘ashamed of me.’ He had no reason to delete this, as Markan priority would assert. 

Again, the stronger case is that Mark and Luke, which are both programmatically supportive of Paulianity, are both being used to thwart Matthew and the DIDACHÉ. Mark and Luke have deliberately excluded the allusion that first appeared in DIDACHÉ, a phrase decisively damaging for Paul, namely, the eschatological reward for one’s deeds.  This notion amount to a doctrine of justification by the works, and in the case of the DIDACHÉ, these are works of the law which Christ has issued as Halacha to Israel, and as catechism to Gentiles. It is therefore profoundly contradictory to Paulianity.

Even more directly, the reason for Markan-Lukan deletion of this phrase is the urgent necessity to delegitimize the DIDACHÉ as a fair representation of the Lord’s teaching; for the Gospel of Matthew’s publication on the heels of the DIDACHE amounts to an emphatic testimony by the Apostles that the DIDACHÉ instructions– which Paul has contested ferociously– actually do come from the Lord. Here, in Matthew, comes the full blown edition, with context, as a solemn, ‘whole truth’ witness.

The Markan-Lukan gospels truly are at best redundant in the first place, and in practical fact have subtly sabotaged the true [DIDACHÉ-Matthean] Gospel. It is for this reason, I believe, that they have been published. Of course I may be deceived, but at least this text upholds my case, with the strongest logic.

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The Glorious Throne of Judgment (DID. 16.8)

DID: 16.8 Then the world shall see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven, and all the holy ones with him, on his royal throne, to judge the world-deceiver
and to reward each according to his deeds.

The ‘Throne of Glory’ idiom derives largely from a vision of Enoch, who sees the Lord (the Son of Man) judging the world. (1En 69:27,29; see also 47.3; 55.4; 61.8; 60.2; 62.2,3,5)

Note also these citations in Matthew and Revelation closely linking the eschatology of 1Enoch with that of the DIDACHE Gospel:

Mat 19:27-30  Then answering Peter said to Him, Behold, we have forsaken all and have followed You. Therefore what shall we have? 

(28)  And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  (29)  And everyone who left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.  (30)  But many who are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Mat 25:31-46  But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He shall sit on the throne of His glory.  (32)  And all nations shall be gathered before Him. And He shall separate them from one another, as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats.  (33)  And indeed He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats off the left.  (34)  Then the King shall say to those on His right hand, Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  (35)  For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in;  (36)  I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.  (37)  Then the righteous shall answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, and fed You? Or thirsty, and gave You drink?  (38)  When did we see You a stranger, and took You in? Or naked, and clothed You?  (39)  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and came to You?  (40)  And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you have done it to Me.  (41)  Then He also shall say to those on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.  (42)  For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink;  (43)  I was a stranger and you did not take Me in; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.  (44)  Then they will also answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to You?  (45)  Then He shall answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.  (46)  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.

(Rev 4:9)  And whenever the living creatures gave glory and honor and thanks to Him who sat on the throne, who lives forever and ever,

(Rev 5:13)  And I heard every creature which is in the Heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and those that are in the sea, and all who are in them, saying, Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him sitting on the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.

Other glory / throne associations:

(Psa 89:44)  You have made his glory to cease, and have thrown his throne down to the ground.

(Jer 14:21)  Do not abhor us for Your name’s sake, do not disgrace the throne of Your glory; remember, do not break Your covenant with us.

(Dan 5:20)  But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was put down from the throne of his kingdom, and they took his glory from him.

(Zec 6:13)  Even He shall build the temple of Jehovah; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne. And He shall be a priest on His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

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Satanism and the World Deceiver (DID. 16.4)

16.4b And then shall appear the world-deceiver as a son of God. And he
shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be betrayed into his hands. And he shall do godless things that have not been done since the beginning of the age.

C O M M E N T :

This statement must surely stand as the most disturbing prophecy in sacred writing. At least for me it ranks near the top of any list of troubling subjects in Christianity and in life.

It is also even difficult and challenging just to write and think about this conceptually.

What we learn from (what are to me) the many reliable portions of the New Testament is that:
(a) the deception will be pervasive and is certainly seductive of the church membership; and
(b) the nature of the deception includes not just conceptual misinformation, but cognitive functions: Our senses will deceive us.

That being so, it seems hopeless even to raise the subject for a practical discussion–not to mention the unpleasantness if the ontological implications (i.e., what this says about our lowly and really futiles state of existence).

Too, there is so much that could be raised and delved into–far more than my own very limited resources permit.

For now, I would simply note one all-important revelation that God has given me in many dreams and dream-visions, and that is, that the solution and the ‘defense’ against the power of satanic deception of our minds, comes in prayer. When we turn our minds and thoughts and words to God, His saving power in us intensifies immediately.

This is the over-arching thought we must have. Prayer must become a habit of mind and a reflex in every moment-by-moment situation. This, I’ve found, is how God saves us. Of course He can intervene without prayer. But our souls suffer greater trouble, to the degree that our gaze shifts away from His Light, and wavers, and falls upon our troubles instead of our Help.

A second point that I would make is to offer a testimony that I have personally had the unfortunate experience of meeting Satan in a spiritual dimension, to the point that I could interact with him cognitively and in a sensory way. This occurred once, on Maundy Thursday during Orthodox Easter week, 2008.

The topic of Satan and his power and reality, is one which the modern world and even many Christians have a hard time confronting in its true dimensions. It is a topic we tend either to ignore and discount altogether, or try to minimize. Even a conservative popular writer like C.S. Lewis has famously written about how Christians need to strike the right balance, as it were, between taking Satan too seriously, or not seriously enough. (Mere Christianity ) Although Lewis was well-meaning, one must instead consider the darkly troubling reality that the Word gives us, rather than the assurances of any mortal man.

Another huge issue–one which time limits do not even allow me to explore at any length at all, except to mention–is the ambiguous way that Satan is presented in Scripture and in non-canonical ancient Jewish writings. To oversimplify the matter perhaps unpardonably: there are many passages in which Satan is represented as actually, one might say, a ‘part’ of God and/or an agent who is under God’s orders and control, to test and tempt us; but there are also other biblical theologies or rather satanologies, which represent Satan as more of a ‘loose cannon’ of autonomous and self-actualized evil.

Regarding the first ‘model’ of Satan, I have even heard the opinion voiced that this Satan is consciously emulated by or sanctioned in some formal way, by a certain element in rabbinicism. There is a belief that God is a ‘good cop bad cop’ duality, and thus He desired the men play a certain provocative role.

This raises the possibility, then, to my mind at least, that Satan has actually seduced religious leaders of many ilks, by means of religion. (I am of course not speaking exclusively of, nor singling out, any one religion.) I sense a quality in all organized religion, in which an arguably evil or erroneous element is pair with what is obviously good. It is as if Satan were smart enough not to inject his horrors in some overt singularly consistent fashion but, rather, that he instructs duped religious caste elders in a certain manipulativeness of this ‘good cop / bad cop’ quality. In so doing, the clergy believe they serve God.

Perhaps they do! I do not pretend to know the whole truth of any matter. But, in own theology, I believe that Christ taught us to be all Good, and to renounce all evil:

Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. (Mat 7:17-18)

And also, that we do not need any more teachers, rabbis, or theological instructors!

But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and you are all brothers. And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in Heaven. Nor be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, even Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he who shall humble himself shall be exalted.
(Mat 23:8-12)

And the meaning of the Parable of the Seven demonic spirits, I believe refers to the spiritual ‘pedigree’ of presumptuous religious leaders.

When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he walks through dry places seeking rest, and finds none. Then he said, I will return into my house from where I came out. And when he has come, he finds it empty, swept, and decorated. [i.e. piety] Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more evil than himself [ambitious but false religious control-freaks], and they enter in and live there. And the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so it also shall be to this evil generation.
(Mat 12:43-45)

On the other side, so to speak, there is a hypothetical ancient school of Judaism, which has only recently been discovered and has been dubbed Enochic, because it relies on this non-canonical texts of 1-2 Enoch. It was not rabbinical, in the sense we know from both the Old and New Testaments. Quite the contrary, it evolved into communitarian perhaps pacifistic Essenism. And it held a radically different view of Satan and the Fallen Angels. This demonology and satanology presents a dualistic cosmos, in which there are Good and Evil souls. God’s salvation enables the Good to extricate themselves and purify completely.

False gospels, particularly those of the Protestants, unfortunately encourage admixing, hybridization and a false comfort that we can engage in the world on its wicked terms–smugly assured in the illusion that we are “saved by Grace and not by works.”

In this limited allusion to Enochism vs rabbinicism that I offer you, I cannot sort out these paradoxes and conflicts. I would simply commend you to read the several texts of the New Testament regarding Satan and evil. Be sure to include all of them. If time permits, also visit the Old Testament. You will see a bewildering and rather incoherent spectrum.

Scholarly works include three edited or written by Gabriele Boccaccini: Roots of Rabbinic Judaism (Eerdmans, 2002); Enoch and Qumran Origins (Eerdmans, 2005); and Enoch and the Messiah Son of Man (Eerdmans, 2007)

~

Theologically speaking, we have to consider the whole bewildering gamut of issues. First, we have the matter of defining right-and-wrong (i.e. either in a Torah or in the conscience). A Good God wants to do this. He must also present some kind of rewards-and-punishment system. In so doing, He does indeed become a kind of ‘good cop/ bad cop.’

But we soon discover that the evil sometimes go unpunished. And the righteous suffer unjustly. So, how does God explain this? This is the point of the book of Job and also to some extent, of the Suffering Servant (in Psalms and Isaiah).

Then we have the role of religion. This purports to explain God and to act as an official intermediary. But there is tremendous opportunity for abuses and errors and corruption here. Real evil comes in religious garb! We have God being represented but really misrepresented. And, in a ‘closed’ system, there seems no way for God to circumvent the cultus of myths, lies and the state-sanctioned apparatus which presumes to speak for Him.

Visionaries and dreamers and shamans and prophets arise; but some are deluded, some are false, and some are killed or exiled for their accusations (under the sanction of the religious establishment) and for their troubles.

And the priestly guild (in the broad sense, religious or secular) have a way of constructing their role so as to benefit and remunerate themselves. They presumably act in good faith and sincerity. They truly believe they serve God and/or truth and/or progress, the nation, the common good, etc. But in fact, they may well–I would say they typically probably do–serve ‘the Devil’ in the sense that their efforts are incorrect or in error to some degree. A ratcheting effect, or downward spiral occurs, by which corrupt minds descend on a trajectory into ever-worsening darkness.

And this problem again reflects upon God and His Justice. How can He punish his self-styled ‘servant’ who truly do think they serve Him, but actually don’t?

And on and on.

God has a series of problems to solve for us, ranging from practical and communicative, to technical and philosophical.

And one centerpiece of the ambiguity, at least for me, comes in the Temptation narrative of Matt. 4. We have Satan depicted as a kind of necessary element of God’s plan, a ‘hazing rite’ or gauntlet to be endured by the spirit-anointed Jesus; and in this, Satan is remarkably ‘civil’ and well-versed in Scripture, and he is as seemingly reverential of God as is his counterpart.

This does not at all comport with other more distressing Scriptural portrayals of evil, let alone with our experience of it!

Now, this range of literary portraits complicates the discussion even further, if we consider that some of the Scripture may have been written by rabbinically trained theologians who held a certain sense of Satan from their school of thought (such as the narrative in Matt 4); while other Scripture came from men who held a non-rabbinical understanding and training (such as that in the Revelation to John, and the Gospel of John, perhaps).

The DIDACHE does not portray evil and Satan in the moderating way that certain other Scriptures arguably do.

The DIDACHE-Gospel actually, to my view, solves all of the issues as just lightly surveyed above. The DIDACHE-Gospel essentially eliminates the clergy and replaces them with elected local overseers/assistants, who will control not a law code (because the DIDACHE doesn’t need much legal interpretation or emendation), nor does it offer a system of what I unflatteringly call “sheep ‘n’ shekel sheikh-down” sacrifices enriching a caste of priveleged clergy. (Historically, that came later.) Rather, the DIDACHE is a commonwealth order. It is modeled on Essene-like communards. The bounty is transferred to the poor and to the common storehouse for common meals. The ‘overseer’ (stock manager, if you will) does not wear a tall pointed hat or long robes, but receives his cut, fairly and legitimately. But he no longer needs to play the clergy game. He does not need to set himself up as an innovative teacher or guardian of the cultus, because that function is sustained by the DIDACHE text itself.

And this neat near-elimination of the clergy role, I would modestly and respectfully speculate, may accounts for why the would-be clergy and ambitious teachers and rabbis of those times and thereafter, felt threatened and disenfranchised by it. And this is why the went to war (as I assert) against it. And this is why and how they eventually succeeded and replaced the DIDACHE with a corruptive pseudo-Apostolic Constitution, from which a long train of tragedies has ensued since.

May God guide our minds into all truth, to discern Good and Evil, and to make our tree all Good, that our fruit might be all Good. May God deliver us from Evil, rather than toy with it as if we were gods. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16.8 Then the world shall see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven, and all the holy ones with him, on his royal throne, to judge the world-deceiver and to reward each according to his deeds.

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