Ebionites "thought that it was necessary to reject all the epistles of [Paul], whom they called an apostate from the Law." Eusebius, Church Hist 3:27 325 AD

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Constantine's Changes Damaged Christianity

Introduction

Constantine in 325 AD, as emperor of the Roman empire, had the right to control all religious sects in the empire by virtue of his title PONTIFEX MAXIMUS.  (See "Pontifex Maximus," UNRV History.)

With this authority, Constantine called a conference of Christian bishops far from Rome in 325 AD at Nicea. It was held on the summer solstice of June 21 - which in hindsight we will see was to honor the Sun, the son of God-Horus in Constantine's actual religion. What was the issue? Whether Jesus was truly a man who was also Son of God, as Arius claimed? Pr was Jesus God the Son -- of one essence with the Father's being -- in Latin homoousious, as Athanasius said. 

After Arius and Athanasius spoke their views, Constantine imposed the result contrary to the true majority view. As Jacob Burckhardt explained in the Age of Constantine (Univ. Cal. Press, 1983) at 315:

A period was finally put to the debate by the exercise of imperial authority. Constantine insisted upon the questionable expression homoousious against the will of the majority, whereupon the majority patiently submitted. Only two bishops refused their signature...Their reward were deposition [i.e., removal as bishops] and excommunication.

 

Why did Constantine choose Athanasius' view, even though it was the minority view? As Charles Sutherland said in Disciples of Destruction (Promethus, 1987) at 124: "As a god, Jesus could be associated conveniently with Sol Invictus." This Invincible Sun was the god, son of Horus, in whom Constantine truly had his faith, as we shall prove below.

How did Constantine make this decision stick, besides the threat of removal and excommunication?

Constantine Cut Off Leadership from Roman Bishop

Constantine set Nicea far away from Rome, thereby preventing the infirm pope of Rome, Sylvester, from attending. "Sylvester could not come in person, by reason of his great age...." (Alban Butler, The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and other principal saints (J.Duffy 1866) Vol. 2 at 224.) 

What leadership could Sylvester have provided? Sylvester was pope from 314 AD to 335 AD. Yet, he failed to ever sign the articles of Nicea decreed in 325 AD. This is admitted by the Catholic Encyclopedia (1912) Vol. 14 at 371 col. 1. The encyclopedia carefully obscures this embarassing fact by placing it among some droll observations. It still reads clear enough: 

"Still it is not certain whether Constantine had arranged beforehand with Sylvester the actual convening of the Council, nor whether there was an express papal confirmation of the decrees beyond the signatures of the papal legatees." (link)

Hence, you must read between the lines, as the Roman Catholic church is founded upon Constantine's changes, and tries to spin the truth to be more obscure than it is. But this admits (as other histories directly relate): (a) there is no evidence that Sylvester agreed to Nicea as the location of the council, which is unlikely he would do so because the location of Nicea prevented his attendance in his elderly state; and (b) other than the 2 legates who attended on his behalf whom Constantine could intimidate, Sylvester - who apparently could not be intimidated -- never signed the Articles of Nicea.

The Roman Catholic church that arose from Nicea ironically thus has no true papal authority for its changes. Any authority it had was by the unbroken 'chain' supposedly from Peter but that was severed in 325 AD by Constantine and his mandate of the Nicene Creed with its material changes in our faith. The Roman pope did not agree to any of these changes. That is a fact. 

Why were the articles of Nicea so radical?

Nicea's Main Decrees

First, Nicea decreed Jesus was a God the Son alongside God-the-Father, and was of the same "being"(true God from true God), yet wholly had a distinct mind and consciousness. This made Jesus into exactly like the god-the-Sun (Sol Invictus) - son of the god Horus. Jesus by contrast said the "only" true God is the Father (John 17:3), but that the Father indwelled Jesus (John 14:10), giving Jesus divinity, but not Deity.

Based upon Jesus' words, and many statements in epistles and Acts, the pre-Nicea church believed that Jesus was a man indwelled by the Father who alone is God. (See Exalation that Turned Idolatrous; & Trinity v Indwelling in Early Church.)

But there was possible misconstruing Jesus' words if you did not follow Jesus' direction, and this could be exploited by a pagan ruler like Constantine. Jesus said those who pay attention will know whether "it is I who speak or my Father who is speaking through me." (John 7:17.) So who is the voice speaking when Jesus says "before Abraham I am"? Obviously, the Father dwelling in Jesus. Why? Because the Father is "I am" and the "only true God," Jesus said, in John 17:3. Hence, those words "I am" are the Father speaking through Jesus directly. The pre-Nicea church knew this, and always had Jesus as Son of God, a man indwelled by the Father, but had the Father always as the only true God. See our article Correct Christology.

Second, Nicea by means of a letter of Constantine ordered Christ's resurrection would now be celebrated no longer at Passover time (Hefele:325), but only instead at a seemingly arbitrary date that was tied to the spring Equinox. But this sun-determined date happened to be the date to worship Isis  -- where her Celtic name of Eostre now is forever associated with Jesus' resurrection. This sadly gives a pagan color to our Christian worship, but it also reflects Constantine's true objective in moving the date from the Sunday after Passover when Christ's resurrection was always previously remembered. See our article The Easter Error.

Why did Constantine's letter issued at Nicea truly pick this Equinox date to celebrate Jesus' resurrection? Because the sun's action in the spring Equinox is known in Constantine's pagan religion as the death of winter where now is the "strengthening" of the sun -- seen as a resurrection of the Sun-God Sol Invictus from the death of winter. ("Easter," Rev. George Lemon, English Etymology (1783), at this link.)

Hence, Nicea gave us two pagan concepts: 1. Jesus was God the Son equal to God the Father with one essence with the Father who also was God, and both are of different minds and consciousnesses -- which is self-evident polytheism no matter how much we try to deny it; and 2. Jesus' resurrection was no longer celebrated on the Sunday after Passover, but on a date tied to the SOLAR Equinox that links to the goddess Eostre (Isis) - mother of Sol Invictus, and her son, SOL (Sun) who rises from the dead at the Equinox.

Constantine's Fraudulent Claim.

It was in conjunction with setting up the Nicene Council in 325 AD that Constantine first personally revealed to Christian bishops that just the day before the battle of the Milvian bridge in 312 AD he supposedly had a vision of a Chi and Rho letter (X and P) in the sky with the words "Conquer in this" and that night had a dream where Jesus appeared to him to explain the meaning of the vision. Contrary to myth, it was after 325 AD that Eusebius created the accounts that included these extra details. Eusebius's earlier accounts about the victory at Milvian Bridge made no mention of these details. "No vision, no dream," as Professor Van Dam, author of Remembering Constantine at the Milvian Bridge (2011), explains in a History Channel piece on Constantine. (See interview at this video link at 23:29.)

Why the change so late in official Christian history? This was apparently due to Constantine's meeting with the bishops in 325 AD prior to setting up Nicea. (See History Channel You Tube Constantine at 24:10-38.) Bishop Eusebius' initial history of the battle of the Milvian Bridge thanked God for now a ruler tolerant of Christianity had won, but there is no "mention of any vision or dream," nor the Chi-Rho symbol. See "Chi Rho," Wikipedia.

As Jacob Burkhardt in The Age of Constantine the Great (Univ. Cal. Press, 1983) at 296 explains, Constantine only relayed the story years after the fact:

"It is not even the value of a myth. Indeed, it is not of popular origin, but was told to Eusebius by Constantine long afterwards, and by Eusebius written up with intentionally vague bombast. The Emperor swore a great oath to the bishop [Eusebius] that the thing was not imagined, but that he actually saw in heaven the cross with the inscription 'In this sign you shall conquer,' and that Christ actually appeared to him in a dream, and the rest; but history cannot take an oath of Constantine the Great too seriously, because, among other things, he had his brother-in-law murdered despite assurances under oath."

First Proof of Fraud

Importantly, what evidence exists prior to that time of this event that supports it took place? Could this "evidence" implode the entire story, and prove it is all a fraud? Yes. That's exactly what happens when you compare accounts.

The only confirmation in part for what Eusebius was later told was a record made by the tutor of Constantine's son. His name was Lactantius. He was a famous orator who also was a Christian. He wrote an account of the Battle of Milvian Bridge from 312 AD as Lactantius approached 320 AD -- the year of his death. This means it was first recorded almost eight years after the battle of the Milvian Bridge. Nothing earlier is ever recorded of a Christian-related vision or dream with Constantine having taken place in 312 AD. Yet, this belated story must have come from Constantine's lips while doting over his child in Lactantius' care.

What did Constantine want believed in 320 AD? At this point, Constantine was not very creative. He did not tell Lactantius about a vision at all, and not one seen by all his troops, as Eusebius would relay after meeting Constantine in 325 AD. Rather, Lactantius says it all happened in a private dream, minus "Conquer by this" anywhere in the account. Also, in Lactantius' account, the symbol to put on the shields was a "peculiar monogram," shaped like a T and Rho -- a cross with a bent end to look like a P. It was not a Chi-Rho. (See Lactantius Labarum.) Hence, Novak says it was "markedly different" than the Chi-Rho which Eusebius would relay for the first time many years later was what the sign in the sky supposedly depicted.  See, Ralph Martin Novak, Christianity and the Roman Empire: Background Texts (Bloomsbury 2001) at 159.

Eusebius post-325 AD was obviously unaware of the record made by Lactantius near 320 AD, or otherwise, he would see the later embellishments by Constantine were extreme, thus exploding any credibility to the entire story. 

What was the symbol Constantine told Lactantius that Jesus in a dream told him to use? Was this a Christian symbol? Lactantius "describes this sign as a 'staurogram,' or a Latin cross with its upper end rounded in a P-like fasion."  (Lactantius Labarum.) This would appear as a cross-like T with the upper beam rounded down to one side. It is depicted in this article on a staurogram. In the solar religions of that era, this image is close to a solar cross to symbolize the god of the Sun. See Solar Cross. 

Even if not, the key point is that what Constantine told Lactantius was the symbol is not anything like a CHI-RHO -- xP -- which is what Constantine about five years later told Eusebius was the symbol to put on the troops' shields.

Other Facts Prove A Phony Conversion Claim.

How else do we know this vision before the Milvian Bridge battle was not of Christ? That derived from some other event if something like it happened?  And how do we know the changing emblems of his soldiers' shields was either a lie or was simply a familiar solar symbol, and not a Christian one?

First, we know in 321 AD -- 9 years after the Milvian Bridge battle of 312 AD -- that Constantine had announced "Sun-Day" - the day of the "venerable" (worship-worthy) "Sun" -- known as the god Sol Invictus -- to be the day of rest for all citizens of the empire. See discussion below. Incidentally, prior to that time, Saturday was known as Sabbath by the empire accepting Jewish customs. See this link. Had Constantine been a Christian since 312 AD, why would he order in 321 AD all Romans to rest on the "worship worthy" Sun's day?

Second, Constantine maintained before and after 325 AD a coin program that depicted Sol Invictus on a coin with an inscription to indicate the SUN was a "Companion of" Constantine. Why would a Christian since 312 do this? In fact, in 323 AD, Constantine finally fully defeated in a battle a rightful co-emperor. The same year -- 323 AD -- Constantine had a special medallion struck that attributed this victory to Sol Invictus:

"However, until his preparations for his final campaign by 323, he did not abandon his allegiance to the Sun god...Constantine's public image remained  - the Sun god was the emperor's 'companion.' The liberation of Rome was attributed to the Sun on a medallion struck at the time." (W.H.C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity (Fortress Press, 1984) at 484.)

Incidentally, this would imply the emblem on the labarum of the troops must have been SOL INVICTUS in 323 AD. The emperors commonly invoked the aid of a specific god by putting his symbol on the shields. This was to encourage the troops and to freighten the enemy. Thus, this striking of the coin in 323 AD proves much more than just Constantine's faith, but also that it did not extend to continuing to use the CHI RHO sign that Jesus gave him in 312 AD supposedly, and in which sign Jesus promised "Conquer in it."

It was only the next year, in 324 AD, that there is any claim the troops of Constantine used again the Chi-Rho they supposedly used at the Milvian bridge in 312 AD. Many battles had come and gone, but the Chi Rho only reappears in 324 AD. "He made extensive use of the Chi-Rho and the labarum [shield] only later in conflict with Licinius." ("Lactantius Labarum"). Licinius was the co-emperor with Constantine, who co-issued the Edict of Milan -- granting tolerance to Christians for the first time. Now Constantine was trying to kill Licinius, to gain unconstitutional sole rule over the Roman state. There is insufficient evidence to believe Constantine used it first in 317 AD on some coin. Its first known use on a labarum in a battle after its supposed use in 312 AD at the Milvian Bridge was in a battle with Licinius in 324 AD. See link. Why such a long delay?

Third, we also know Jesus would not tell Constantine he would win a worldy battle against a lawful co-emperor. Jesus taught Peter to put away weapons. Jesus said "my kingdom is not of this world." It is thus preposterous to think Jesus would appear in a dream to Constantine to tell him he would defeat his co-emperor as long as his soldiers wore a symbol of Christ on their shields.

Finally, indisputable physical evidence which proves Constantine's lie remains to this day -- on full display outside the Roman Forum: the Arch of Constantine. This depicts the victory of Constantine at the Milvian Bridge. Yet, no Christian icons of any kind exist on it. Not even the "labarum" of the Chi-Rho appears. See "Labarum."

As the History Channel episode follows Simka's trek to Rome, we visit with archaeologists familiar with the Battle of the Milvian Bridge and the Arch. This includes archeologist Clementine Panella. We learn with an archaeological expert on a crane lifted to the exterior of the Arch of Constantine showing us visually the Battle of Milvian Bridge being depicted; Constantine's victory; and the attribution of the victory to several pagan gods including Sol Invictus (the Sun), but no cross, no Christ, and nothing to impress on us that Constantine's troops knew of such an event that they put the Xp symbol of Christ on their shields.

What does this all prove then?

It was all a lie that Constantine concocted to persuade the bishops to accept his Nicene changes. This 42 minute video is at this link, where at minute 23 begins the analysis of whether Constantine's story is what we would call today "fake news." 

Were the Signatories Truly Convinced Theologically?

But did the bishops truly accept Nicea? Not truly. Constantine offered salaries to all who stayed on -- for the first time creating a paid clergy, and if you refused the articles of Nicea, you were dismissed from your church post, and exiled.

Would you hold your breath, and take the money, waiting for the right time to speak up? There is the clearest proof this happened, and likely was justified top to bottom. Why can we say so? This was clearly the view at the top...of the bishop closest to Constantine.

Eusebius -- who opened Nicea with a long introduction of Constantine -- himself was a secret Arian. Thus, Eusebius becomes an example of a signatory to Nicea who then years later fought for Arius to be reinstated -- Eusebius showing his hand only after years of effusive loyalty earning Constantine's favor. Eusebius convinced Constantine to let Arius back into the empire, and to be bishop. This was done in Eusebius' direct attack on Athanasius in 334-335 at two synods. Constantine then called an assembly at Jerusalem which ended in restoring "Arius and his followers to assembly."  Our source? The Catholic Encyclopedia at page 619 in its article "Eusebius" which it wrote to its great embarassment.

Then Constantine soon thereafter died. What was Eusbius doing? He had stayed hidden until he gained Constantine's trust.

As Jerome a generation later said: "Eusebius is the most open champion of the Arian heresy" (Jerome Epist. 84, 2). The editors of the Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers comment on this, and say Eusebius "in effect denies the trinity." (See E. Christopher Reyes, In His Name (2010) at 179, quoting Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers Vol. I, at 323-24.)

 

By doing this, Eusebius single-handedly revived the legitimacy of believing Jesus was a MAN indwelled by the Father (Arius' view and Jesus's own personal view of himself) rather than a separate mind and conscious that is God equal to and of the same essence as God the Father. The latter view clearly smacks of Constantine's pagan duo of gods - the son, Sol Invictus and his father, Horus.

Nicea Transformed the Western Church.

In the year 325 AD, the floodgates opened wide, and a fundamental transformation of the Church took place. It now refashioned itself from top to bottom into a full-blown State religion of the Empire. This made one's faith a matter of state concern, and hence orthodoxy was changed to fit state interests, including conformance to pagan faith-views about the deity of Jesus as well as celebration of Easter rather than the Passover -- the true period related to Jesus' resurrection.

 

As Tolstoy wrote in Church and State (1891), this led Christianity to a heathen road away from Christ:

 The source was evil: hate, human pride, hostility towards Arius and others, and another still graver evil, -- the Union of Christianity with power.

Power: Constantine, emperor, according to heathen ideas one who stands at the height of human grandeur (he was counted among the gods), accepts Christianity, furnishes an example to the whole nation, converts the nation, and extends a helping hand as against heretics, and through the ecumenical council fixes the unitary orthodox Christian faith

The Christian Catholic faith is fixed forever. 

So natural was it to yield to that delusion that even unto this day men believe in the salutariness of that event. While the event was really such that, thanks to it, the majority of Christians have repudiated their faith. That was the point where the overwhelming majority of Christians took the heathen road, which is still followed. 


The Wikipedia article on the "Sabbath" readily explains the pretensions of Constantine to Christianity, which he then used to persuade Christians to end their common  observance of Sabbath so worship would be now on the day of worship of the Sun-God -- Sun-day. It reads:

The Roman emperor Constantine, a sun-worshiper, professed his conversion to Christianity [took place in 312 AD], although his subsequent actions suggest that the “conversion” was more of a political move than a genuine change of heart. Constantine ... enacted the first civil law regarding Sunday observance in A.D. 321.

"On the venerable day of the sun let the magistrate and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however, persons engaged in agricultural work may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain growing or for vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost." [1]

Note that Constantine’s law did not mention Sabbath also known as Saturn's day as permissible to rest, but referred instead to the next day as “the venerable day of the sun" as the day of rest. Venerable means "worship-worthy."

[Coin Right: "To the Sun, My Invincible Companion" -minted by Constantine in honor of the god of the Sun,  Sol Invictus.]

 

 

 

 

 

A True Experience But With Whom?

Professor Michael Grant formerly of Cambridge University, concluded that Constantine did have some kind of authentic spiritual dream-like experience around 312 AD, and that he was completely convinced at some point that it was Jesus Christ who had appeared to him in that dream. One author comments:

Like Grant, I do not believe that Constantine was a liar, a charlatan, or simply a political opportunist who exploited the Church solely for his own ends, although there seems to have been some of that going on. Rather, I believe that Constantine was a man who was genuinely and thoroughly deceived by our ancient foe, Satan, who presented him with a false image of Jesus in that dream. As the Scripture says, “Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).” Then, after deceiving Constantine, Satan used him and the prevailing circumstances to deceive the Church, which has largely remained so ever since.

I agree that a real spiritual experience was involved. However, I would comment that Constantine came to equate in 325 AD an earlier experience in 310 AD with Jesus only after he was trying to win over Christian bishops as 325 AD approached. But this 310 AD vision was not Christian at all.

A Gallic historian in 310 AD said that Constantine had a vision of the God of the sun in a grove of Apollo. In Greek mythology, Sol Invictus is Apollo - the god of the Sun. See Robert R. Chenault, Rome Without Emperors (Dissertation, Univ. of Michigan 2008) at 23-PDF.) This is a key spiritual event for Constantine.

In Barbara S. Rodgers, "Constantine's Pagan Vision," Byzantion (1980) vol. 50 at 259-78, she relates that Constantine became a devout sun-god follower after he saw an apparition of the sun god Sol in a grove of Apollo in Gaul in 310 AD.  The ancient work recording this event was entitled Anonymous Oration, and the event happened July 25, 310 AD. This Gallic author says that the vision revealed the end of the old religious view that Roman emperors would be two persons ruling over the empire, justified previously as a reflection of Jupiter and Hermes ruling as a pagan duo of gods over all mankind. Instead, this vision informed Constantine that the god of the sun was announcing that Constantine alone would rule over mankind, and thus there was likewise no further need for more than one emperor of Rome. See also Robert R. Chenault, Rome without Emperors (Dissertation)(Univ. of Michigan: 2008) at 23 PDF. For more quotes from this orator who believes Apollo promises Constantine will "rule over the whole world," see Novak, supra, at page 155.

 

This vision is what impelled Constantine forward, and to believe in victory over Maxentius in 312 AD who was a co-Caesar with Constantine ruling the empire. See "Maxentius," Wikipedia. Hence, Constantine could honestly believe the god of the Sun promised him victory in 310 AD over Maxentius, which was not realized until 312 AD at the Milvian bridge.

 

Constantine conflated that true experience of 310 AD with the vision and dream he relayed in 325 AD to Eusebius that Constantine claimed happened with "Jesus" prior to the Milvian bridge battle of 312 AD. Constantine may have very well come to believe the 310 AD experience with the sun god / Apollo was with Jesus, if he conflated the two into one. Thus, technically he was not lying when he said the vision of Jesus was "before" the battle of Milvian bridge -- materially omitting it was two years ealier, and when it happened, he thought it was the god of the Sun -- Apollo.

But Chenault dismisses this vision of 310 AD is the same as the vision of Christ in 312 AD. Chenault bases this on believing Eusebius quoting the Emperor has the correct facts, including the Xp on the shields of the troops. But Constantine's account that he originally thought that it was Christ at the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD is blatantly false, given the Arch of Constantine made in 315 AD. It records that victory but it has nothing Christian on it. It ascribes the victory to pagan gods, including Sol Invictus.

Hence, the truth appears to be Constantine conflated his 310 AD vision with Sol Invictus in Apollo's grove with what he relayed to Lactantius in 320 AD as a dream where Jesus spoke to him. Then this was embellished further in an inconsistent manner with Eusebius in 325 AD. The 'conversion' of Constantine could not have happened in 312 AD. As we noted above, there are abundant proofs that Constantine had no belief in 312 AD that he met Jesus, because this would have impelled him to repentance to switch exclusively to Jesus. But, we saw above, Constantine was completely pagan in his beliefs and actions right up to 324 AD, thanking on his 315 AD Arch at Rome the pagan goddess of Victory and the Sun-god for his victory at the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD.

 

Damage to Christianity.

Thus, in a very real sense, when the Church accepted, worshipped and served this false image of Jesus that Constantine gave us — an idol promising the Church power and authority over nations and peoples through its partnership with Rome — it was actually worshipping and serving Satan without ever even knowing it. And so, through Constantine, Satan presented the Church with a temptation to accept a Jesus found in private appearances in 310 AD in a wilderness grove area -- where we should remember Jesus said He would not be found post-Ascension (Matt 24:4-5; 24-27). Thereby the church failed the test to distinguish false prophets (such as Constantine with his supposed visions and dreams of Jesus) from true, and then from this terrible error arose Christian Nationalism serving a false version of Jesus Christ.


Study Notes on Constantine

1. Eusebius Records Constantine Claimed Inspiration

In the Oration of Eusebius, XVIII, Eusebius relates how Constantine made the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to be deemed the place of Jesus' burial.  Apparently, Eusebius is using faint praise or sly coded words (likely the latter) to reveal to the reader not to trust Constantine because he claimed inspiration. Either way, it tells us something of Constantine's mindset:

"THESE words of ours, however, [gracious] Sovereign, may well appear superfluous in your ears, convinced as you are, by frequent and personal experience, of our Saviour's Deity; yourself also, in actions still more than words, a herald of the truth to all mankind. Yourself, it may be, will vouchsafe at a time of leisure to relate to us the abundant manifestations which your Saviour has accorded you of his presence, and the loft-repeated visions of himself which have attended you in the hours of sleep. I speak not of those secret suggestions which to us are unrevealed: but of those principles which he has instilled into your own mind, and which are fraught with general interest and benefit to the human race. You will yourself relate in worthy terms the visible protection which your Divine shield and guardian has extended in the hour of battle ; the ruin of your open and secret foes ; and his ready aid in time of peril. To him you will ascribe relief in the midst of perplexity; defence in solitude; expedients in extremity; foreknowledge of events yet future ; your forethought for the general weal ; your power to investigate uncertain questions ; your conduct of most important enterprises ; your administration of civil affairs;' your military arrangements, and correction of abuses in all departments; your ordinances respecting public right ; and, lastly, your legislation for the common benefit of all. You will, it may be, also detail to us those particulars of his favor which are secret to us, but known to you alone, and treasured in your royal memory as in secret storehouses. Such, doubtless, are the reasons, and such the convincing proofs of your Saviour's power, which caused you to raise that sacred edifice [i.e., the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem] which presents to all, believers and unbelievers alike, a trophy of his victory over death, a holy temple of the holy God : to consecrate those noble and splendid monuments of immortal life and his heavenly kingdom : to offer memorials of our Almighty Saviour's conquest which well become the imperial dignity of him by whom they are bestowed. With such memorials have you adorned that edifice which witnesses of eternal life: thus, as it were in imperial characters, ascribing victory and triumph to the heavenly Word of God : thus proclaiming to all nations, with clear and unmistakable voice, in deed and word, your own devout and pious confession of his name

Oration of Eusebius Pamphilus in praise of  The Emperor Constantine Pronounced on the 30th Anniversary of his reign.  AD 337 Ch. XVII, legible version, or at Schaff, Nicene & Post Fathers (2007) Vol. 1 at 610.

Eusebius actually was bravely writing in veiled sarcasm so his writings would survive, and we would know the truth, as will become more evident as we proceed. (Epiphanius post-Constantine had to do the same thing - see link, so always read Eusebius & Epiphanius with a grain of salt.)

Ernest L. Martin in Secrets of Golgatha (1996) at 215 comments on this passage:

"He [Constantine] claimed to possess divine knowledge, just like the apostles, and those visionary experiences gave him the essential teachings which he thought to have as their source His Savior and which he considered necessary for all the Christian Church (including the bishops) to follow."

Martin goes on to explain that as a result of Constantine's assuming sole emperorship in 324 AD, he transformed the Christian fellowship toward a paganized form of Christianity. Martin at page 217 of Secrets of Golgatha remarks:

"Before the end of the fourth century a new kind of Christianity had emerged that was quite different from that described by Eusebius in the first part of the century. It was a Christianity where visions, dreams and signs took center stage, and where pagan customs and philosophies began to permeate the whole of society. A brand new civilization had come on the scene."

The importance of the subtle mockery of Eusebius, is that Eusebius knew this Sepulchre is in the wrong place. To fulfill prophecy, Jesus had to be executed outside the city. Eusebius had himself recorded the correct place years earlier -- at the Mount of Olives -- which is outside the city.

“Believers in Jesus all congregate from all parts of the world….that they may worship at the MOUNT OF OLIVES opposite the city….TO THE CAVE that is shown there” (Eusebius, Proof of the Gospel, Bk. VI. ch. 18).

But here, in this oration, Eusebius has to appear to approve the holy sepulchre inside Jerusalem. And shockingly, it was placed on the Temple to Venus which the Romans built in 135 AD to desecrate the city. The background on this is as follows:

In the year 326, Constantine sent his mother Helena to Jerusalem to discover the spot that he had foreseen in a vision as the place of Jesus’ Resurrection. This was the site of the temple of Venus on the western side of Jerusalem. He ordered the temple torn down and a church constructed on the site. This is called the church of the “Holy” Sepulchre to this day.

What had been this Temple of Venus? When the Romans finally conquered Jerusalem in 135 A.D., as an insult to the Jews, they built a Temple of Venus over a monument to a Jewish freedom fighter named John Hyrcanus.

2. Danger of Following Signs & Wonders As Confirmation

Speaking of so-called "St John of the Cross" of the 16th Century, Ernest Martin in Secrets of Golgatha (1996) at 218-19 addresses Constantine's choice of Christ's burial place as the Temple of Venus at Jerusalem. We now call this the Temple of the Holy Sepulchre. Martin critiques this event:

"No one in early times has given a better appraisal of how dangerous and foolish it is to trust in visions, dreams and signs than the appraisal of St. John of the Cross. His classic evaluation [Ascent of Mount Carmel ] should be read by all people today who rely upon such manifestations as visions, dreams, and miracles as a means for establishing doctrines or religious principles. Such procedures are some of the most dangerous imaginable in their ability to produce falsehood and deception amongst the unwary. Had there been a 'St John of the Cross' at the time of Constantine (with the warnings he so able presented to the theological world of the 16th century), and had he been believed, then the Christian church would not have been saddled with the supposedly 'divine' teachings of Constantine and his advisors about the need to accept the place of the Temple of Venus as the place of Jesus' passion. It would have been understood that visions, dreams, and miracles are the most unreliable 'proofs' for demonstrating historical, geographical and theological truth."

3. Constantine's Elimination of all Sects of Christianity But The One He Approved

Edward Gibbon in Rise and Fall of Rome wrote:

Constantine easily believed that the heretics, who presumed to dispute his opinions or to oppose his commands, were guilty of the most absurd and criminal obstinancy... Not a moment was lost in excluding the ministers and teachers of the separated congregations from any share of the rewards and immunities which the emperor had so liberally bestowed on the orthodox clergy. But as the sectaries might still exist under the cloud of royal disgrace, the conquest of the East was immediately followed by an edict which announced their total destruction”

4. Constantine As Using Christianity To Subjugate People, Relying Upon Paul's Words

Robert Atwill recently wrote Caesar's Messiah to portray Jesus as the product of the Roman state. In some ways, Rome of the 300s did -- in conjunction with Paul's words -- make Jesus into a Roman Messiah to subjugate peoples. Here is Robert Atwill's observations in a 2012 blog entitled How Christianity Was Used To Enslave Europe:

Christianity may be considered a religion, but it was actually developed and used as a system of mind control to produce slaves that believe God decreed their slavery. From their position as the “Pontiff Maximus” – the official title for Caesar’s position as head of the pagan college of Roman priests – the Pontiffs of the Roman Catholic church oversaw the feudal system wherein Christianized serfs gave their work product to the authorities without complaint. Their docility was caused by the fact that they were Christians and therefore believed the Apostle Paul when he wrote: “slaves should be obedient to their masters in everything”. (Titus, 2)

When Rome was a Republic the coloni had numerous rights including the ability to sell their land, but these freedoms steadily eroded during the imperial era. Around 300 CE the Caesar Diocletian implemented a tax that unified a plot of land with its inhabitants. It thereby became more difficult for coloni to sell their plots.

In 306 CE, upon the death of his father Constantius, Constantine became co-Emperor with his brother-in-law Maxentius. The two were bitter rivals however, and war soon broke out. Before the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 CE, Constantine had his famous but absurd vision in which Christ purportedly instructed him to place a particular sign on the battle standards of his army. This symbol was called the chi-rho (The Chi Rho superimposed the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ in such a way to produce a monogram that invoked the crucifixion of Jesus) and was described by Eusebius as “a long spear, overlaid with gold, which included a bar crossing the spear to form the shape of the Christian cross. On the top of the whole was fixed a wreath of gold and precious stones, and within this the symbol of the Savior’s name, two letters indicating the name of Christ by means of the initial letters, the letter X intersection P at the center.” Included with the banner were the words: “In hoc signo vinces” (in this sign thou shalt conquer).

Armed with the “power of Jesus”, Constantine defeated his rival and became dictator. His reign is best remembered for the Edict of Milan in 313, which fully legalized Christianity, and the Council of Nicea, which he chaired in 325, that began the era where the religion enjoyed the power of the Roman state.

Because of his assistance in making Christianity the state religion, Constantine enjoys a positive historical legacy. In fact he was among the most wicked men in history. What has been overlooked by historians is that his efforts on behalf of Christianity were just one half of his legal “reforms” and when when one half is juxtaposed to the other an entirely different picture emerges. Constantine used Christianity to make the enslavement of most of the European population acceptable to the victims because it was an act of God.

Constantine’s other edicts were the true beginning of medieval serfdom. They officially ended the coloni’s ability to sell their land but bound them to it forever. Another set of edicts forbade the lower classes from changing profession. Constantine thereby froze an unfair society into place. And to prevent any intellectual resistance from the newly created slaves, Constantine also began the process that made Christianity the state religion. When viewed in their true historical context, it is self-evident that the sole purpose for the specific combination of Constantine’s edicts was to enslave serfs and make rebellion a sin.

Below is the order of rank that Constantine’s edicts created – the Feudal System :

The Pope
The King
Bishops
Nobles
Knights / Vassals
Priests
Freemen
Yeomen
Servants
Serfs

Eventually the degradation of the coloni’s legal status to serf was formalized with the creation of a ceremony known as “bondage”. During the ceremony a serf placed his head in the lord’s hands – akin to the ceremony where a vassal placed his hands between those of his overlord. The serf would then swear oaths that bound him to his lord in a feudal contract which defined the terms of his slavery. Thus, the Oath of Fealty, which still exists to this day, producing an attitude of servitude in those who willingly submit to the authority structure.


In the same way, C. Winn in his article Questioning Paul (2015) says aptly that the result of doctrines which Constantine created, Christianity became the worship more of a Babylonian religion than the faith Jesus taught. Winn writes:

The religion Paul conceived has more in common with the mythos of Babylon than any other. As was the case with the Babylonians, Christians are fixated on their Trinity...on the celebration of the Winter Solstice and Easter Sunday when their god is born, dies, and is resurrected, a god whom they call “the Lord” [i.e., Baal] using Satan’s title.

Further Study Notes

In an article by Shafer Park, in The Christians.com, we read of the divided opinion over Constantine.

For example, Mennonite scholar John Howard Yoder (1927-1997), as summarized by Leithart, “In Yoder’s telling, the Church ‘fell’ in the fourth century (or thereabouts) and has not yet recovered from that fall.” - See more at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/778#sthash.yDM61SGC.dpuf

Shafer adds:

Going even farther, many Baptists and fundamentalist Christians call what happened a seduction, in which church leaders accepted the imposition of Babylonian paganism and superstition under the guise of Christian symbolism and ceremony, and all for a “pottage” of state support and power. - See more at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/778#sthash.yDM61SGC.dpuf  

Leithart will have none of that. What happened with Constantine, he counters, amounts to nothing less than the baptism and progressive transformation of society. He set the world toward becoming the City of God. No wonder he was buried as the “thirteenth apostle” in the Church of the Apostles. - See more at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/778#sthash.yDM61SGC.dpuf


Email 4/25/2015

Alex's Question on Was Early Church so Pro-Paul as it Seems? Was True History Washed Out?

I am puzzled by the fact that the tradition of the early church is almost unanimously, except Papias I think, pro-Paul. Is it possible that Paulinism took over toward the end of the 1st century and, while these figures understood the problems with Paul (i.e. Turtullian) and the tension in the Old Testament accounts of sacrifice, they accepted Paul's understanding over the understanding of the chosen apostles? Or, is it possible that Eusebius washed out the Jewish history of Christianity?

My Reply

Hi Alex

 1.As to whether any others than Ebionites were critical of Paul’s authority, I found an astonishing fact. Tertullian in 207 AD wrote a scathing attack on Paul to prove he was not an apostle, to prove he was a false prophet, etc.,  in the context of disproving Marcion’s claim that Paul was the sole apostle for the current dispensation. Amazing when I found this. No one else talks about it. Here is the link. See point 6 in this article http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/topicindex/74-early-church-views.html

2.I know Papias never quotes Paul. Is there any proof he was anti-Paul? If so I missed that. Please advise

3.As to why the early church appears pro-Paul, other than Tertullian, it is because later Emperor Constantine was able to censor and destroy any work that contradicted how he was transforming Christianity. Constantine believed the true God was Sol Invictus, a Son of a Father God. He thought Jesus was Sol Invictus. The day of the SUN (sol) was declared to be our modern SUNDAY. It arose in the early 300s by Constantine’s decree. So all Christians observed SABBATH the day prior, and Constantine wanted his religion to not be the same as the Jewish-Jesus’ religion. So he banned rest on Sabbath, and forced by statute everyone to rest on SUN-Day. Suddenly Paul was a key voice to support suppressing the original Sabbath. The first commentaries on Paul came up under Constantine’s watch, and all began quoting Paul more than Jesus. Prior to that time, Paul is virtually a rare source in the early church. Here are two short article to help on that:

http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/topicindex/245-contantines-damage-to-christianity.html

http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/topicindex/239-council-of-nicea-of-325-ad.html   - more general.

I would love whatever you have on Papias. 

Blessings,

Doug

3/12/2012


Videos on Constantine 1. How the Christian Church Changed from its Roots  45 minutes. Good mostly, e.g., Sabbath. But brings in the video creator's view that sinners destroyed, not in hell torment, at death.

See website Come Out Of Her My People in its article on Solar-Religion influence on Christianity. The author quotes many scholarly sources.