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“Church Fathers” and the Closing Words of Scripture

Published by Rob Skiba December 30, 2014 at 5:47 AM

People love to quote the “early Church Fathers” all the time. Unfortunately, the ones they are choosing to quote are really more like “early Church Children, Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren” and even rebellious step children. The true  “early Church Fathers” are the authors of the New Testament! Yes, they had converts, some of whom boasted about who their “father in the faith” was, relating directly to the Apostles. But is that always to be assumed a good thing? Could it be that some of these guys were just “name dropping” to gain popularity for themselves? We see that this did take place:

1 Corinthians 1:

10 Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11 For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them that are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

12 Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, save Crispus and Gaius;

15 lest any man should say that ye were baptized into my name.

Name dropping, causing division and bragging rights. It’s nothing new. Paul continues to describe it…

1 Corinthians 3:

 1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ.

2 I fed you with milk, not with meat; for ye were not yet able to bear it: nay, not even now are ye able;

3 for ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you jealousy and strife, are ye not carnal, and do ye not walk after the manner of men?

For when one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not men?

5 What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him.

6 I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

21 Wherefore let no one glory in men. For all things are yours;

22 whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;

23 and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

So, I’m just tossing this question out for consideration: When people want to quote so-and-so “early Church Father” (as in those allegedly even connected directly to the Apostles) doing, practicing, preaching, advocating, teaching things contrary to the whole of Scripture, shouldn’t we weigh their merit by the Scriptures themselves and not by their alleged pedigree? Even if these guys are so-called “pillars of the (Gentile) Church” and direct sons in the faith of people like Peter, John and Paul, I think we may seriously need to re-evaluate how much trust we should be putting in them for our doctrines.

Go back and read 1 and 2 John. In fact, read 1 and 2 Peter and Jude first. Then read John’s epistles. In all three of these writer’s books, you will see them referring to “false prophets, teachers and antichrists” which were among them, who were causing a lot of problems in the original foundation of the early church.

It should also be noted that Paul was not the only one hanging out with the Gentiles in his ministry. John was on the Gentile island of Patmos when he wrote Revelation and in Gentile occupied Ephesus when he wrote his epistles. And considering the fact that the “beloved Apostle” who was closest to Yeshua, wrote the last books of the New Testament, should we not take his epistles very serious? I mean, he’s writing the closing words of not just the New Testament, but of what we would later refer to as the whole Bible!  So with all of this in mind, consider what Bible.org has to say about the context of his writings…

CONCLUSIONS:

What we can discern about the setting of the Johannine Epistles from the letters themselves is limited and fragmentary, but it appears that 1 and 2 John, at least, are rooted in controversy. The author of 1 John appears to be writing to a community to which he himself is well-known (and to which he himself may belong). He attempts to reassure those to whom he writes, because their Christian community has undergone a serious split whereby a SUBSTANTIAL PART OF THE COMMUNITY has withdrawn from fellowship over doctrinal issues. The author of 1 John describes the group which has left as made up of ‘antichrists’ and ‘false prophets’ (strong language by any account).

This group (which has split off and withdrawn from fellowship with the community to which the author writes) is continuing to propagate its OWN beliefs. The secessionists are seeking to win converts for THEIR OWN views, even from among the community to which they formerly belonged. In light of this threat, the author of 1 John is writing both to reassure and strengthen the faithful members of that community, and to warn them to continue to resist the proselytizing efforts of the FALSE TEACHERS who have gone out FROM AMONG THEM. In 2 John the author is writing to a particular congregation to warn the believers there against giving aid or shelter to the FALSE TEACHERS in their ongoing missionary efforts.

{EMPHASIS CAPS mine} Source:https://bible.org/seriespage/2-background-and-setting-1-john

The last Apostle, who was the last writer of the last books of our New Testament, wrote:

1 John 2:

1 My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

2 and He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.

3 And hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

5 but whoso keepeth His word, in him verily hath the love of God been perfected. Hereby we know that we are in Him:

6 he that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked.

7 Beloved, no new commandment write I unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning: the old commandment is the word which ye heard.

Some will try to tell you that “His commandments” are a reference ONLY to the commandments of Yeshua, as if to say that the Son trumps the Father. This is terrible logic. The Son and the Father are one (John 10:30). Yeshua said He ONLY says what He hears and only does what He sees from the Father (this is evident throughout the Gospel of John). He never contradicted His Father. He never set up “new rules” that supercede His Father’s. Rather, He always “walked” in total obedience to His Father and John says we should do the same, following in Yeshua’s lead. Note how he also basically says, “This isn’t something new here. I’m talking about commandments you’ve had ‘from the beginning’ – you know, like as in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.”

John then spells out what sin is:

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Yeshua merely boiled His Father’s list down to the essence of what they are meant to accomplish: loving YHWH and loving people. Almost as if to clarify the issues of 1 John 2, John therefor lays out in no uncertain terms what “loving God and people” actually means:

1 John 5:

1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

I could see it now. If the Apostle John were posting this note on his Facebook page here in the 21st Century, he would have been so blasted and accused of being a heretical Judaizer (or member of the Hebrew Roots Movement), especially with this one…

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, and the faith of Jesus.

Anytime I make any mention of (gasp) actually obeying YHWH (oh the horror of it all!), I am accused of trying to put people “back under the law.” How can I be allegedly trying to “put people back UNDER the law” when as a Believer it is SUPPOSED to be IN you (Hebrews 8:10)? You can’t go UNDER something that is IN you! Even a Yoga expert can’t twist himself into that pretzel. Clearly my detractors have not thought their argument through very well. Revelation actually mentions the keeping of the commandments a several times. Consider a previous instance:

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

So, here we see those with the “testimony of Jesus Christ” (i.e. Christians) keeping the commandments of God. Imagine that! I find it quite interesting that the last author of the New Testament is saying the same thing as the last author of the Old Testament (who was also writing in a LAST DAYS context):

Malachi 4:

1 For, behold, the day cometh, it burneth as a furnace; and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith Jehovah of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

2 But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings; and ye shall go forth, and gambol as calves of the stall.

3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I make, saith Jehovah of hosts.

Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances.

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come.

6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers; lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Those are the closing verses of the last chapter of the last book of the Old Testament. These are among the closing words of the last chapter of the last book in the New Testament:

Revelation 22:

11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

The final closing words of great men (especially men of God writing Holy Spirit inspired Scripture) are always worth seriously considering, don’t you think?

– Rob Skiba

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