Converted Greek Philosopher Explains Christianity in 125 AD

by Sea Breeze 34 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    I ran across a pretty early treatise. We were all taught that "real" Christianity was lost to history and was only restored once Russell and then Rutherford restored it so that the WT could be appointed as God's "mouthpiece". But, Aristides wrote to the Emperor Hadrian and gave a pretty good synopsis of core Christian belief in 125 AD.

    He wrote:

    The Christians, then, trace the beginning of their religion from Jesus the Messiah; and he is named the Son of God Most High. And it is said that God came down from heaven, and from a Hebrew virgin assumed and clothed himself with flesh; and the Son of God lived in a daughter of man. This is taught in the gospel, as it is called, which a short time was preached among them; and you also if you will read therein, may perceive the power which belongs to it. This Jesus, then, was born of the race of the Hebrews; and he had twelve disciples in order that the purpose of his incarnation might in time be accomplished. But he himself was pierced by the Jews, and he died and was buried; and they say that after three days he rose and ascended to heaven (Apol. 2, Syriac).

    Aristides makes it clear that Christians affirm a number of key truths:

    1. The divinity of Jesus: “God came down from heaven” In the mind of Aristides, Jesus is not an angel, or a semi-divine being, but the very God of heaven itself.

    2. The incarnation: “clothed himself with flesh.” In very vivid language, the author affirms that Jesus is God enfleshed; he took upon himself a real human body (contra the Docetists).

    3. The virgin birth: “from a Hebrew virgin.” This doctrine flows naturally from the prior two. If Jesus is God, and he took on human flesh, then his conception would be distinctive from other human beings.

    4. The authority of the Gospels: “taught in the gospel…and you also if you read therein, may perceive the power which belongs to it.” Notice for Aristides, there are books called a “gospel” which you can “read” to learn more about the person of Jesus. Moreover, these gospels contain a certain “power” which the reader can discern.

    5. The authority of the apostles: “and he had twelve disciples.” Aristides recognizes that Jesus had an authority structure through the twelve that was necessary “so that the purpose of his incarnation might in time be accomplished.”

    6. His death on the cross: “pierced by the Jews.” This is a clear reference to Jesus’ crucifixion under Pontius Pilate at the request of the Jewish leadership.

    7. His resurrection: “after three days he rose.” Jesus did not stay in the grave but was raised from the dead.

    8. His ascension: “ascended into heaven.” Jesus returned to his former heavenly home, in a position of power and glory.

    Jesus portrayed as Michael the Archangel like the WT teaches was not what the earliest Christians believed.


  • john.prestor

    I find it interesting that the author doesn't put a name to the gospel. It's just the gospel.

  • jhine

    Very interesting. Of course the Org says that the " real " Christianity was lost, so that they could find it !


  • LV101

    Sea B - 'Jesus is God' and not Son of God being stated 125 AD?

  • pistolpete

    I find it interesting that the author doesn't put a name to the gospel. It's just the gospel.

    Pick ONE.....

    Gospel of Thomas – The Gospel of Thomas

    • Gospel of Marcion – 2nd century,

    • Gospel of Basilides – composed in Egypt around 120 to 140 AD,

    • Gospel of Truth (Valentinian) – mid-2nd century, , most likely in the form of a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples

    • Gospel of Mary – 2nd century

      Gospel of Judas – 2nd century

    • Greek Gospel of the Egyptians – second quarter of the 2nd century

    • Gospel of Philip

    • Gospel of the Twelve – a Syriac language gospel titled the Gospel of the Twelve,

    • Gospel of Perfection

    • Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians – also called Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit

  • john.prestor

    Me, I'll take The Gospel of Thomas :P

  • Olig

    I want a gospel of Arthur, king of the Britons.

  • Olig

    And possibly a book from the Knights who say Ni...

  • Olig

    Or better still, the gospel of Brian:


  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze


    The letter to the Roman Emperor states that Jesus was God and the Son of God at the same time.

    This will not make full sense unless a person accepts the biblical characterization about the tri-partite nature of both God and man.

    1 Thes. 5: 23 - I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless

    The contemporary watchtower and secular-naturalist view that man is a body only was not a common view in the ancient world.

    Using the biblical definition, the whole trinity subject becomes a non-issue. Jesus, like you and I was constituted of body, soul & spirit. Since God is an indivisible and omnipresent Spirit, this divine essence (whatever it is) made up that part of Jesus person, making him both God (in Spirit) and man (in body) at the same time.

    We were taught by the WT that Jesus was one or the other. Aristides, like the other original believers taught that he was both.

    Ignatius (AD 50-117) was the Pastor at the church in Antioch (where believers were first called Christians). He was also a disciple of John the Apostle. He wrote a series of letters to various churches on his way to Rome, where he was to be martyred. He writes,

    Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her which hath been blessed in greatness through the plentitude of God the Father; which hath been foreordained before the ages to be for ever unto abiding and unchangeable glory, united and elect in a true passion, by the will of the Father and of Jesus Christ our God; even unto the church which is in Ephesus [of Asia], worthy of all felicitation: abundant greeting in Christ Jesus and in blameless joy.2

    Being as you are imitators of God, once you took on new life through the blood of God you completed perfectly the task so natural to you.3

    There is only one physician, who is both flesh and spirit, born and unborn, God in man, true life in death, both from Mary and from God, first subject to suffering and then beyond it, Jesus Christ our Lord.4

    For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan, both from the seed of David and of the Holy Spirit.5

    Consequently all magic and every kind of spell were dissolved, the ignorance so characteristic of wickedness vanished, and the ancient kingdom was abolished when God appeared in human form to bring the newness of eternal life.6

    For our God Jesus Christ is more visible now that he is in the Father.7

    I glorify Jesus Christ, the God who made you so wise, for I observed that you are established in an unshakable faith, having been nailed, as it were, to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.8

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