Welcome! Jesus Christ is my LORD and Savior! Romans 10:9-10,13; John 3:16

[For EU visitors, I do not personally use cookies, but Google or any clickable link (if you choose to click on it) might. This is in compliance with mandatory EU notification]

I am a Natural Born United States Citizen with NO allegiance or citizenship to any nation but my own, and will use this site as a hobby place of sorts to present my own political and religious viewpoints, as a genuine Constitutional Conservative and a genuine Christian Conservative.

Thank you for coming.
In the Year of our LORD Jesus Christ
-- As of January 20, 2017
A Sigh Of Relief With The Inauguration Of Donald John Trump as President of the United States of America, And Hope For A Prosperous Future For All United States Citizens (we who are a nation called "the melting pot of the world"). We shall be great and exceptionally great again.

It is likely that the entries to this blog will be less frequent than in years past. I do intend to keep this blog active, and to offer insightful information and/or opinion (and sometimes humor and/or entertainment on occasion) when I do post.

Peace and Liberty. Semper Fidelis.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Redating of the New Testament (revised), Part 1

Preface: An early dating of the New Testament is grounded in the historical
anamnesis and witness of those of the generation, which saw, heard, and physically touched Jesus Christ. In contrast, it is those who choose to do what the scribes and Pharisees did to the masses while Jesus taught or performed miracles -- to commit apodokimazo (Gr. "to actively keep from proving"){1} -- to illegitimately and deceptively proclaim disbelief, which will potentially turn thousands upon thousands AWAY from Christ.

Beginning with Clement (bishop at Rome 57 -100/101 A.D.)

By looking first at Clement, I wish to bring you into the First Century from a more proper perspective, so that you may see without the purple haze that "Q" and other theories have placed upon the minds of those looking at the New Testament era.

The bishop of Rome in the first centuries of Christianity was never a pontifex maximus (the top “high priest”) over Christianity, as Roman Catholicism has re-envisioned history to be. But the fact of the matter is that 1 Clement was written by Clement, who was THE HEAD of the Churches at Rome, who confessed more than once, that there was NO PAPACY present.

I Clement was written prior to A.D. 70 by the THIRD bishop of the Christian Churches at Rome. Roman Catholicism incredulously calls him the third pope. If so, by his own words and closeness to the apostles, Clement’s own words should have the greater weight in our considerations of debating about the man. In I Clement, .34, ( by my reckoning dating to weeks or months just after the fire of Rome under Nero) we have the citation that could just as easily be attributed to Revelation 22:12 as to Isaiah 40:10, or 62:11. When the proper dating is accomplished, possibilities like these must dealt with in the context of the most accurate timeline, and properly addressed.

I Clement was most likely in the months following the persecutions by Nero Caesar following his burning of Rome. There is some debate as to whether that July 18-19 burning of Rome was in A.D. 64. I Clement was most likely written between September and November following the Great Fire of Rome, and the following persecutions and torching of the Christians.{2}

Sometime in the two months prior to the letter of I Clement, there was a tumult created by some one or two affluent persons who sought to engage in sedition against the Presbyters at Corinth.

I Clement, .47 reads thus:
– It is disgraceful…and unworthy of your Christian profession that such a thing should be heard of as that the most steadfast and the*very* first* Church of the Corinthians should, on account of one or two persons, engage in sedition against its Presbyters. And this rumor has reached not only us, but those also who are unconnected (or differ) with us….”

One or two members had raised a sedition against the holy and blameless bishop over the Corinthian Churches, for no other reason perhaps, than just because they could. The point did not matter in regards as to whether these men were pretenders of Judaism, Greek philosophy, or worshippers of Roman or Greek deities. What did matter is that the leaders had to have been men of great influence within the Church; and at Corinth, and that meant wealth. Whoever these two men were, they had great wealth and were either great benefactors only, or both benefactors and Presbyters over their own large congregations. If Presbyters, then as we read that word, we should translate it as Chief Reverend or Rabbi, so that we might get the modern concept or understanding of this position. But in context, we come to find that earlier in the Epistle, Clement confesses of not being over all churches:

"Let us cleave, therefore, to those who cultivate peace with godliness, and not those who hypocritically profess to desire it…For Christ is of those who are humble-minded, and not of those who exalt themselves over His flock." {3}

…let us esteem those who have the rule over us; let us
Honor the aged among us; let us train up the young men in the fear of G-D….”

The above quoted words were written and stated when John the Apostle was yet alive. It is also highly likely that Phillip the Apostle was also alive, but that the social and religious nature was that the Corinthians wanted a familiar authority, but less than that of an apostle to more meekly judge their conflict; especially if that someone was familiar with all the players involved in the conflict; someone like Clement.
It would have followed a more logical order on seeking independent authority outside the regional nearby major Church cities that the Church having an issue seeking doctrinal clarity normally would have contacted Jerusalem, now headed by Simeon, son of Cleopas. However, Eusebius tells us that the Churches of Christ removed themselves to Pella (a city east of the Jordan River) {5} after heeding prophetical utterance of Jerusalem’s coming destruction utterances by the same man who is mentioned in Josephus, whose ministry began 7 years before the taking of Jerusalem, or AD. 63. {6}

And the next quote verifies that as of the writing of I Clement, Jerusalem was still actively sacrificing daily and unmolested; hence, clearly dating not only pre-70, but pre-67 A.D. as well.

“Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to G-D in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming Gravity, and not going beyond the rule of ministry prescribed to him. Not in every place, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered, or the peace offerings, or the sin-offerings and the trespass offerings, but in Jerusalem only." {7}

The Christian denomination of the Hebrew Faith was only 34 years old when Clement dictated this epistle as one bishop writing to another bishop's province. Clement himself is identified by the New Testament as being a former missionary and evangelist under Paul, who helped establish the Churches while at Corinth.{8} So, in the year 64 A.D. when I Clement was written -- following the fires and persecutions at Rome -- the Church at Corinth would have been only about 15 years in existence, and writing for advice from Clement as someone who helped to establish what the Church Doctrine as given them from Peter and Paul (their founders) was.

In Paul's letter to the Corinthians some 11 years previously, Paul criticized those whose congregations were claiming pre-eminence over others in the city. At the time, those factions divided themselves as followers of the Apostle Paul, followers of the Apostle Peter, and followers of the Evangelist Apollos. According to Hippolytus, Silas was the appointed bishop of Corinth of Achaia,{9} and as we can see in this retrospect, it was probably the Presbyters of the factions of "Apollos” and of “Peter" from 53 A.D., who were (probably) the ones who then had successfully removed Silas (more the follower of Paul’s way of thinking) in early 64 A.D. without any just cause or excuse.{10}

Let me reiterate the point that directly dates Clement pre-70 A.D.:
“Let each of you/us brothers, in his proper order give thanks to G-D, maintaining a good conscience, not overstepping the designated rule of his ministry, but acting with reverence. (2) Not just anywhere, brothers, are the continual daily sacrifices offered, or the freewill offerings, or the offerings for sin and trespasses, BUT ONLY IN JERUSALEM.
And even there the offering is not made in every place, but IN FRONT OF THE SANCTUARY at the altar, the offering having been first inspected for blemishes.”

Clement speaks in the present tenses of the Greek regarding the Temple. It stands…it exists…it is not in danger…the sacrifices are occurring…the inspections of sacrifices are on-going. There is no hint of even a siege, or a shutting up of the city so as to choke the process that he lays out in 41.2. Clement speaks of the ministries as having reverence to Jerusalem, and speaks of subservience to those higher than themselves.

In I Clement 21.6 (Lightfoot), Clement speaks of “our leaders” / “those who have the rule over us”.{12} The word of interest there, for our understanding the proper context of the translation, is Proegoumenous. Proegeomai appears just once in the New Testament in Romans 12:10. There, Paul uses the same word (Proegoumenoi) to speak of a way of not only out-doing the righteousness of the Pharisee; but of trying to emulate and outdo the kindness and godly actions of those (within the Church or Faith) “officials who take the lead by example, as better, presiding over us; having gone on before us.”

Proegeomai therefore is an idea that is lost in translation from Greek into English; it is of duplicating works and reverencing those in authority over us by outdoing them, as if they had become a past twin reflection of us…a mirror image, if you will…and we are simply carrying on by their illustrious examples. How you treat 'that one' will not only enhance or worsen the one you project 'love' or 'enmity' to... but that projection of 'love' or 'enmity' will also 'mold and shape' you (personally, for good or evil) as well.

As we will see momentarily, Clement was in fact referring that he had officials of the Church higher than he, and one of them was his own presbyter ambassador (when empowered by the Christian neo-Sanhedrin of Jerusalem). Lost in translation is the fact that the Gospels themselves (as it were) label the traditional Jewish Sanhedrin of 70 as not just “elders”, but “presbyters”. Some of these are clearly found in the Greek texts of Matthew 16:21, 26:3; Mark 8:31, 11:27; Luke 9:22, 20:1.

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch in Syria,in his Epistle to the Church at Tralles,.3
viewed “Presbyters as [those who made up the membership of] the Sanhedrin of GOD.”

The view, which was almost certainly penned or dictated by Ignatius while in Smyrna in the presence of Polycarp. Hence, we have an “organized” structure of the Christians, based in and out of Jerusalem until the death of James on Passover 55 A.D. And afterwards, there would form multiple Sanhedrins, or congresses of 70. These would first evolve out of Antioch of Syria, Ephesus of Asia, and Corinth of Achaia…each having a 3 day travel radii to participant Christian synagogues or assemblies, and 70 church leaders to represent their districts and region.

The NT references most clearly used in First Clement, besides the Gospels of Luke and Mark, are: Romans, I Corinthians, Hebrews, Ephesians, and I Peter. These testify of a relationship of some correspondance with Corinth and Ephesus.

Therefore, with regard to Luke and Mark, the understanding of whether or not we are to define a presbyter / elder as a member of the Sanhedrin in the earliest apostolic Churches, is clearly relevant to the need of having a better comprehension of First Clement. We know that the Christians started their denomination of Judaism as Jewish-Israeli, and took the position that Judaism’s leaders were leading Jews and Israel away from the Almighty; and hence, from the Faith of the Forefathers of them. It also appears that the Jerusalem Conference of Acts 15 was, in effect, a neo-Sanhedrin of Christianity‘s own 70, with their own scribes and priests, etc..
Eventually, by the third century A.D., it appears that there evolved multiple systems, where there were multiple Sanhedrins in Christianity based out of chief churches such as Corinth, Alexandria, and Rome…having suburbicary distances of influence of 3 days or less journey (generally 100 miles in any one direction beyond city limits). But in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, it appears that there was only one central neo-Sanhedrin of Christianity, and that was in Jerusalem.


1 e.g., Matthew 21:42; Mark 8:31 & 12:10; Luke 9:22, 17:25, 20:17

2 cf. Tacitus, Histories, Annals 15. Christians were falsely accused for the fires of Rome. Some crucified, some placed in animal skins and dogs set on them, others were turned into human torches (probably an oil grease) and set on fire like candles to illuminate Nero’s vast gardens; etc.

3 I Clement, Letter to the Corinthian Churches - .15, .16

4 I Clement, Letter to the Corinthian Churches, .21

5 Eusebius, History of the Church, 3.5

6 Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.5.3 at the feast of Tabernacles, A.D. 62, Jesus ben Ananus began his prophesying night and day without ceasing until killed by a Roman catapulted boulder, lasting 7 years and 5 months without growing hoarse, even to the moment he died.

7 I Clement, Letter to the Corinthian Churches, .41

8 Philippians 4:3 tells us that when the call came from Paul, Clement was in Philippi. The identification was also made by Origen in his commentary on John 1:29. Of note: Origen says Clement even spoke of those people who are on the other side of the impassable ocean, which were called “antichthones” by the Greeks (Origen de principiis, 3.3.6), but as kosmos (peoples / world) in I Clement, .20. Instead of Paul preaching to Britain, as some few contend…according to Origen, it was Clement who founded Christianity in Rome by making a trip there at some unknown time in the 50s or 60s A.D.

9 Hippolytus, on the 70 disciples,.16; lists Silas as that bishop who succeeded Peter and Paul.

10 In 1 Corinthians 1:12, there were three factions in Corinth: those who claimed Paul, those who claimed Peter, and those who claimed Apollos. Each called their apostle “greater” in order to net some kind of apparent material gain or ability to place themselves as first in line(and such nonsense), and were all rebuked by the Apostle Paul for such childish behavior.

11 I Clement 41.1-2 (Lightfoot translation, emphasis mine)

12 Cf. http://www.textexcavation.com/greekclement17-32.html

No comments:

Post a Comment