The Perpetual Virginity of St Mary in the founders of protestantism

Perhaps this is the only time you will find quotes from protestants on this site but nevertheless it is a pointed reminder that the notion St Mary had Children apart from our Lord except by adoption is a modern innovation and misunderstanding of Scripture, that was not even considered by the founders of Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone) who rejected tradition.  Our Lord gave St Mary to St John the beloved from the cross as his mother because she had no other children… The holiness of St Mary is evident in apart from the Lord’s prayer the most beautiful prayer in Scripture which reveals the humility of St Mary Luke 1:46ff…

 

Famous Protestants on the doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity of the Theotokos

Martin Luther: “It is an artcle of faith that Mary is the Mother of the Lord and still a virgin…Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact.” (Works of Luther, V. 11, pp319-320; V. 6, p 510) See also this article.

John Calvin’s Commentary on Matthew 1:25: “And knew her not This passage afforded the pretext for great disturbances, which were introduced into the Church, at a former period, by Helvidius. The inference he drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband. Jerome, on the other hand, earnestly and copiously defended Mary’s perpetual virginity. Let us rest satisfied with this, that no just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words of the Evangelist, as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called first-born; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin. It is said that Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: but this is limited to that very time. What took place afterwards, the historian does not inform us. Such is well known to have been the practice of the inspired writers. Certainly, no man will ever raise a question on this subject, except from curiosity; and no man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.”

John Wesley: “I believe that [Christ] was… born of the blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as before she brought Him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin.”


Letter to a Roman Catholic, July 18, 1749.

 The Church of God has always considered St Mary as the second Ark of the Covenant,

for truly what dwelt within Our Blessed and Holy Mother was greater than the

tablets of stone which Our Lord God wrote on in the Ark of the Covenant.  So we call

her the Most Holy Theotokos or God bearer because we uphold the doctrine of the

incarnation that God the Word became man uniting Dininity and Humanity in the one person,

which was the statment of faith that Christ told St Peter he would build the Church on…

    Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

Matthew 16:13 xNow when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say yJohn the Baptist, others say zElijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, a“You are bthe Christ, cthe Son of dthe living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, e“Blessed are you, fSimon Bar-Jonah! For gflesh and blood has not revealed this to you, hbut my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, iyou are Peter, and jon this rock2 I will build my church, and kthe gates of lhell3 shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you mthe keys of the kingdom of heaven, and nwhatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed4 in heaven.” 20 oThen he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. x

For ver. 13–16, see Mark 8:27–29; Luke 9:18–20 y ch. 14:2; Mark 6:14; Luke 9:7 z Mark 6:15; Luke 9:8; [ch. 17:10; Mark 9:11; John 1:21] a John 11:27 b See ch. 1:17 c See ch. 14:33 d Deut. 5:26; Josh. 3:10; Ps. 42:2; Jer. 10:10; Dan. 6:20; Hos. 1:10; Acts 14:15; 2 Cor. 3:3; 1 Tim. 4:10 e [ch. 13:16] f [John 1:42; 21:15–17] g 1 Cor. 15:50; Gal. 1:16 (Gk.); Eph. 6:12; Heb. 2:14 h 1 Cor. 2:10; 12:3; [ch. 11:25; John 6:45] i [ch. 10:2; John 1:42] j Eph. 2:20; Rev. 21:14; [ch. 7:24] 2 The Greek words for Peter and rock sound similar k Job 38:17; Isa. 38:10 l See ch. 11:23 3 Greek the gates of Hades m [Isa. 22:22; Rev. 1:18; 3:7] n [ch. 18:18; John 20:23] 4 Or shall have been bound … shall have been loosed o Mark 8:30; Luke 9:21; [ch. 17:9]; See ch. 12:16 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Mt 16:13-20

 

 

Happy and Blessed New Year 1726 AM (Age of Martyrs)…

It is believed that the ancient Egyptians were the first to arrange a calendar, the Alexandrian Calendar; this became the Julian calendar when it was adopted in the west under Julius Caesar.nile

The original Calendar was organised by astronomy which was considerably accurate and was developed to aid in agriculture.

The calendar we use is derived from a Catholic Pope Gregory of the 16th century, known the Gregorian calendar.  The western calendar was based not on the stars but on the cycle of the sun.

The Julian Calendar Day is made up of six hours, as we see in our Agpeya prayer book.

Friday marked the first day of the Coptic Year of 1726 am. 

In the year 284 AD, a very wicked emperor of Rome named Diocletian led a campaign of terror aimed at stamping out Christianity, wherein genocide was unleashed against the Church of God and so began the great persecution of Christians throughout the known world.

In memory of the honour of the blood of martyrs, we began our calendar at this point.  Consider that the Fathers of the Church never did anything without reason, and this date is no exception.  It is a call to remind us that true Christianity involves taking up one’s cross and denying self.  For some, this led to martyrdom.  Prior to the New Year we celebrated the feast of the martyrdom of St John the baptist, whose own sacrifice for pointing to the truth of the coming Kingdom of the Messiah was continued on in the life of the Church by the Apostles, when, like Christ, they were prepared to lay down their lives because of the great love they had in Christ, as well as their confidence in him.

Consider the witness of the confessors as well.  We mentioned already the apostles who were all except for one martyred. 

IgnatiusWatching some sports like football finals we see passions run high and the competitors give there all in their chosen sport.  The crowd’s passion too is caught up with the immense pressure on the players, and some thousands of people have their lives intertwined with the hopes and dreams of the players and the fellow supporters.  Spectators curse opposition players and referees, and cheer on their own favourite players as if their life depended on it.  Unfortunately, for some people, this is the extent of their lives.  Yet, consider for a moment what it was like in the Ancient Roman Empire.  They too held games, although we know that a great many of them were far more bloodthirsty than our modern sports.  Consider to the Coliseum of Rome.  The ground itself to the very grains of sand is hallowed by the shedding of Christian blood in the most awful of circumstances.  Imagine what they went through, the fear, the pain, the emotions considering their loved ones, and yet with boldness and great love for Christ they gave all for their love of Christ.  Some modern groups think it wrong to honour them, let me say it is wrong to not honour them!  For who could be more Christlike than one who gave up their lifeblood for His sake, just as He poured out His blood for the salvation of the world?

Some people think we worship the saints.  This is a misconception and misunderstanding of the way we act as Christians.  We believe wholeheartedly our family as the body of Christ extends beyond the grave into life eternal, and those holy ones who are part of the mystical body intercede for us before the throne of God.  St Augustine answered critics in his day about this very topic as follows…

Chapter 27.—Concerning the Nature of the Honor Which the Christians Pay to Their Martyrs.

But, nevertheless, we do not build temples, and ordain priests, rites, and sacrifices for these same martyrs; for they are not our gods, but their God is our God.  Certainly we honour their reliquaries, as the memorials of holy men of God who strove for the truth even to the death of their bodies that the true religion might be made known, and false and fictitious religions exposed.  For if there were some before them who thought that these religions were really false and fictitious, they were afraid to give expression to their convictions.  But who ever heard a priest of the faithful, standing at an altar built for the honor and worship of God over the holy body of some martyr, say in the prayers, I offer to thee a sacrifice, O Peter, or O Paul, or O Cyprian? for it is to God that sacrifices are offered at their tombs,—the God who made them both men and martyrs, and associated them with holy angels in celestial honor; and the reason why we pay such honors to their memory is, that by so doing we may both give thanks to the true God for their victories, and, by recalling them afresh to remembrance, may stir opolycarp martyrdomurselves up to imitate them by seeking to obtain like crowns and palms, calling to our help that same God on whom they called. 

Celebration for the commemoration of martyrs in the early Church usually took place at their graves. So the ancient church of Smyrna annually commemorated its bishop St. Polycarp (a disciple of St John the Beloved apostle and evangelist) and valued his bones more than gold and gems, though with the express distinction: “Christ we worship as the Son of God; the martyrs we love and honor as disciples and successors of the Lord, on account of their insurpassable love to their King and Master, as also, we wish Kosheh2to be their companions and fellow disciples.”

The history of martyrdom does not however end in the early Christian centuries.  To this very day the Coptic Church finds blessed and holy martyrs amongst its ranks when Christians are called to die for their love of Christ and receive the eternal crown of martyrdom…

Perhaps this year we can increase our reading of the lives of the Holy Martyrs, Confessors and Anchorites of the Church and our resolve to follow their example in our own lives… 

The Authority of the Septuagint in the Ancient Church as Recorded by St Augustine

septuagintThe Septuagint was first translation from the Hebrew Old Testament to the Greek language, the Bible used by the first Christians and proves the existence of all the Old books before 300 BC.  Some 1200 + years later some of the books were rejected by protestants as not divinely inspired.  This is in contradiction to the words of St Augustine of Hippo who expounds the sacred nature of the translation.  (See psite of council of carthageicture of original fragment to right)

In the Orthodox Church we accept the complete canon of Scripture affirmed at The African Synod of Hippo, in 393, approved the New Testament, as it stands today, together with the Septuagint books, a decision that was repeated by Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. These councils were under the authority of St Augustine, who considered the Canon a closed issue as handed down from the Fathers of the Early Church…(Site of the council of Carthage seen left)                                                                                                                                            

 

                St-Takla-org_Coptic-Saints_Saint-Augustine-01                   

ST AUGUSTINE – THE CITY OF GOD

By What Dispensation of God’s Providence the Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament Were Translated Out of Hebrew into Greek, that They Might Be Made Known to All the Nations.

One of the Ptolemies, kings of Egypt, desired to know and have these sacred books.  For after Alexander of Macedon, who is also styled the Great, had by his most wonderful, but by no means enduring power, subdued the whole of Asia, yea, almost the whole world, partly by force of arms, partly by terror, and, among other kingdoms of the East, had entered and obtained Judea also, on his death his generals did not peaceably divide that most ample kingdom among them for a possession, but rather dissipated it, wasting all things by wars. 

Then Egypt began to have the Ptolemies as her kings.  The first of them, the son of Lagus, carried many captive out of Judea into Egypt.  But another Ptolemy, called Philadelphus, who succeeded him, permitted all whom he had brought under the yoke to return free; and more than that, sent kingly gifts to the temple of God, and begged Eleazar, who was the high priest, to give him the Scriptures, which he had heard by report were truly divine, and therefore greatly desired to have in that most noble library he had made. 

When the high priest had sent them to him in Hebrew, he afterwards demanded interpreters of him, and there were given him seventy-two, out of each of the twelve tribes six men, most learned in both languages, to wit, the Hebrew and Greek and their translation is now by custom called the Septuagint.  It is reported, indeed, that there was an agreement in their words so wonderful, stupendous, and plainly divine, that when they had sat at this work, each one apart (for so it pleased Ptolemy to test their fidelity), they differed from each other in no word which had the same meaning and force, or, in the order of the words; but, as if the translators had been one, so what all had translated was one, because in very deed the one Spirit had been in them all. 

And they received so wonderful a gift of God, in order that the authority of these Scriptures might be commended not as human but divine, as indeed it was, for the benefit of the nations who should at some time believe, as we now see them doing.

 LXX-V747-6r the group of elders with Andreas and Aristeas of Alexandria giving a letter to Eleazar, the High Priest

Above - 11th Century depiction of the group of elders with Andreas and Aristeas 
of Alexandria giving a letter to Eleazar, 
the High Priest (seated right on a cushioned throne). 
In the lower pane an attendant stands by Ptolemy with shield and lance. 
Ptolemy receives the letter from Andreas and Aristeas, 
who are accompanied by Jewish envoys.

 

Of the Authority of the Septuagint Translation, Which, Saving the Honor of the Hebrew Original, is to Be Preferred to All Translations.

For while there were other interpreters who translated these sacred oracles out of the Hebrew tongue into Greek, as Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, and also that translation which, as the name of the author is unknown, is quoted as the fifth edition, yet the Church has received this Septuagint translation just as if it were the only one; and it has been used by the Greek Christian people, most of whom are not aware that there is any other.  From this translation there has also been made a translation in the Latin tongue, which the Latin churches use. 

Our times, however, have enjoyed the advantage of the presbyter Jerome, a man most learned, and skilled in all three languages, who translated these same Scriptures into the Latin speech, not from the Greek, but from the Hebrew.   But although the Jews acknowledge this very learned labor of his to be faithful, while they contend that the Septuagint translators have erred in many places, still the churches of Christ judge that no one should be preferred to the authority of so many men, chosen for this very great work by Eleazar, who was then high priest; for even if there had not appeared in them one spirit, without doubt divine, and the seventy learned men had, after the manner of men, compared together the words of their translation, that what pleased them all might stand, no single translator ought to be preferred to them; but since so great a sign of divinity has appeared in them, certainly, if any other translator of their Scriptures from the Hebrew into any other tongue is faithful, in that case he agrees with these seventy translators, and if he is not found to agree with them, then we ought to believe that the prophetic gift is with them. 

For the same Spirit who was in the prophets when they spoke these things was also in the seventy men when they translated them, so that assuredly they could also say something else, just as if the prophet himself had said both, because it would be the same Spirit who said both; and could say the same thing differently, so that, although the words were not the same, yet the same meaning should shine forth to those of good understanding; and could omit or add something, so that even by this it might be shown that there was in that work not human bondage, which the translator owed to the words, but rather divine power, which filled and ruled the mind of the translator.  Some, however, have thought that the Greek copies of the Septuagint version should be emended from the Hebrew copies; yet they did not dare to take away what the Hebrew lacked and the Septuagint had, but only added what was found in the Hebrew copies and was lacking in the Septuagint, and noted them by placing at the beginning of the verses certain marks in the form of stars which they call asterisks. 

And those things which the Hebrew copies have not, but the Septuagint have, they have in like manner marked at the beginning of the verses by horizontal spit-shaped marks like those by which we denote ounces; and many copies having these marks  are circulated even in Latin.  But we cannot, without inspecting both kinds of copies, find out those things which are neither omitted nor added, but expressed differently, whether they yield another meaning not in itself unsuitable, or can be shown to explain the same meaning in another way.  If, then, as it behoves us, we behold nothing else in these Scriptures than what the Spirit of God has spoken through men, if anything is in the Hebrew copies and is not in the version of the Seventy, the Spirit of God did not choose to say it through them, but only through the prophets. 

But whatever is in the Septuagint and not in the Hebrew copies, the same Spirit chose rather to say through the latter, thus showing that both were prophets.  For in that manner He spoke as He chose, some things through Isaiah, some through Jeremiah, some through several prophets, or else the same thing through this prophet and through that.  Further, whatever is found in both editions, that one and the same Spirit willed to say through both, but so as that the former preceded in prophesying, and the latter followed in prophetically interpreting them; because, as the one Spirit of peace was in the former when they spoke true and concordant words, so the selfsame one Spirit hath appeared in the latter, when, without mutual conference they yet interpreted all things as if with one mouth.

Six out of each of the twelve tribes of Israel before Ptolemy to 
translate the Scriptures into Greek - 11th Century manuscript

LXX-translators of the LXX

Wisdom from the Desert!

St_ Makarios the Great - St Maximos - St Domadios“The heart itself is only a small vessel,

yet dragons are there, and lions;

there are poisonous beasts

and all the treasures of evil;

there are rough and uneven roads;

there are precipices;

but there too, are God and His angels,

life is there too, and the Kingdom;

there, too, is light, and there the apostles,

and heavenly cities, and treasures of grace.

All things lie within that little space.”

 

St Makarios the Great

          SAINT GREGORY OF NYSSA – THE LIFE OF MOSES

Saint Gregory of Nyssa is one of the great Fathers of the Church and this wonderful little book is in itself evidence of his holiness because of the profound mystical reflection which is nothing short of inspirational.  Furthermore, it is clear evidence of why the writings of the Church Fathers should take an honoured place as second only to our Divinely inspired Scriptures in the significance of Christian writings.  This particular work is so full of awe and wonder at the marvels of God and Divinity one will never again read over the well known account of the life of Moses the arch prophet the same way again.  It seems impossible to actually put into words the profound nature of Saint Gregory’s insight, so I will leave you with a little quote…

After he had passed some time in this kind of life, the history says an awe inspiring theophany occurred.  At high noon a light brighter than the sunlight dazzled his eyes.  Astonished at the strange sight, he looked up at the mountain and saw a bush from which this light was flaming up like a fire.  When he saw the branches of the bush sprouting up in flame as if they were in pure water, he said to himself “I will go and see this great sight.”  As soon as he said this, he no longer received the marvel of the light with his sight alone, but (which is most astounding of all) his hearing too was illuminated by the rays of light.  The light’s grace was distributed to both senses, illuminating the sight with flashing rays and lightning the way for the hearing with undefiled teachings.  The voice from the light forbade Moses to approach the mountain burdened with lifeless sandals.  He removed the sandals from his feet, and so stood on that ground on which the divine light was shining.” 

This is just a taste of the wonderful depth of this book, no Orthodox Christian can read this and not be moved…

This book is now available in an affordable edition from Harper Collins Spiritual Classics Series or from the Classics of Western Spirituality Series. 

 

friberg_mosesandburningbush 

Take off your SHOES!!!

                                                                             Icon.MosesAndTheBurningBushEXODUS 3:1

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”

 

 

This is perhaps one of the greatest known events in history.  The Fathers are quite unanimous in saying that this revelation of the ‘Angel of the Lord’ in the burning bush was in fact the pre-existent Word, the Son of God.  This event points us to his incarnation, and that beautiful Scripture that our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).  Yet the Holiness of God’s presence was such that Moses was commanded by the Angel of the Lord to take off his shoes for even the ground where he stood was holy.

Later on in time after the repose of the great Arch-prophet Moses, Joshua entered the promised land…                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

  

joshua smallJOSHUA 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”
15 Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Amongst the Fathers of the Church there is difference on opinion of whether the Commander of the army of the LORD was an angel or Our blessed Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God.  Origen taught that this was indeed the Lord Jesus Christ,  ‘for who else is chief of the army of the powers of God except our Lord Jesus Christ?”  Origen also went on to contemplate “And in what manner is Jericho holy ground since it is retained by the enemies?  This indicates, and not by accident, that the chief of the army of the power of the Lord sanctifies every place to which he comes, for Jericho itself was not a holy place.  But because the chief of the army of God came there, the place is said to be holy.  I also dare something more and say that even the place where Moses stood was not holy through Moses himself but because the Lord stood with him.  The presence of the Lord had sanctified the place; and on that account, it is said to him, ‘loosen the latchet of your sandal, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.”   (From Origen’s homilies on Joshua). 

Interesting that the presence of God sanctifies and hallows the physical location in where He is present.  The enormity of these historical events is in a way incomprehensible by the human mind, for who can comprehend the depth and majesty of the Holy Trinity?  Yet, we know what we have been taught and in Christ Jesus our Blessed Lord we have the exact image of God in whom the fulness of divinity dwelt bodily (Col 2:9).  Further, these important historical events pointed to the coming of Christ who was truly Emmanuel – God with us – spoken of by Isaiah the prophet. 

The holiness of God’s presence is revered in the exact same manner to this day throughout the Coptic Orthodox Churches of the world.  When we come to worship at the foot of the altar where the Prescious Body and Blood of our Lord ARE, the sanctuary and Church is indeed sanctified by the presence of Divinity.  So too, we take off our shoes in the Church, and importantly they are not to be worn into the altar under any circumstances.  Finally, the Latin Father and exegete Jerome taught that likewise in the “Kingdom of Heaven we will have no place for sandals as protection against the world as we follow the Lamb who has been slain for us.”  As people who live in expectation of our end in Christ we follow this ancient tradition as a sign of the coming Kingdom, and in reverence to the presence of God, as like Joshua the son of Nun, we bow down and worship our glorious Lord…

Top of Mount Sinai Top of Mount Sinai

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 
     

Coptic_Crucifixion_IconNumbers 21:5

And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” 6 So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”

Truly the ancient Scriptures of the Old Testament offer an amazing testimony towards Orthodox Christianity.  This particular event in the history of the ancient Hebrews bears witness to the coming of Christ as our Great High Priest.  Lets examine this a little deeper. 

The people spoke against God and against Moses and committed a great sin, which resulted in the LORD sending serpents among the people to bite them.  This brings to mind in reminiscience the ‘bite’ of that serpent of old, Satan, the great deceiver, whose venemous ‘bite’ lead to the fall of Adam and Eve from paradise.  Again now in the wilderness, the people spoke against God committing great sin in doing so, which lead to them suffering again from the bite of the serpent, this time leading to physical as well as spiritual death. 

Although many of the people died, a number repented and had enough wisdom to realise their poison from the bite of the serpent was a direct result of the blasphemous words spoken against God and His prophet Moses, so in repentance they approached Moses looking for mercy.  Note the people did not run off to the hills to seek forgiveness from God by themselves (as modern so called Christian sects would have us do because they believe we don’t need mediators), but they approached Moses whom God had appointed over the people, just as we approach the priests of Christ appointed by God through His Church when we seek forgiveness from sin today. 

His-Holiness-Moran-Mor-IgnaThen God commanded Moses to make an IMAGE of a serpent and set it upon a pole that all those bitten who look upon it shall live.  It is interesting to note that GOD COMMANDED MOSES TO MAKE AN IMAGE!  The same God who commanded the people not to make false idols to worship commands Moses to make an image of a bronze serpent.  There is an interesting disctinction here.  An idol is the image of a false god that is worshipped by people, who call the image god.  Yet as God commanded the image of cherubs to be placed on the ark of the covenant, so too He ordered Moses to make an image. 

In the Orthodox tradition we use icons or images in our worship.  Some icons are of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We venerate them as holy because of what they signify.  They lift our mind and hearts towards the One true living God of Israel, the Holy Trinity whom we worship and glorify.  We do not worship the images themselves, just as the ancient Hebrews did not worship the bronze serpent Moses lifted up before them, but yet by looking on the serpent hanging on the pole the people received healing.  (NB The picture shown of HH Mar Ignatius Zakka I Patriarch of Antioch and the Syrian Orthodox Church clearly shows the form of a serpent hung on a pole below the cross, a clear modern link to the sign of the crucifixion of Christ pointed to in the wilderness when Moses held aloft the staff with the bronze serpent.  The priesthood of the New Testament era in the Orthodox Church is clearly then not disjointed from the ancient faith of the Hebrews as its rightful successor through Christ our Lord – Furthermore, like the ancient Hebrews we too use signs and symbols in our Divinely ordained faith without forsaking the purity of our Monotheism as the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, the exact image of the One Triune God {Hebrews 1:3}.) 

There is another who was hung on a tree, and as the bronze serpent is a symbol of sin and its punishment so too the Holy Cross of Christ Our Blessed Lord is a sign of healing and life; for truly He bore the weight of the sins of the world for those who would seek Him in repentance to receive healing and the cling to the hope of following Him to the promised land of paradise, as the Hebrews of the desert hoped for the promised land…

Just another WordPress.com weblog