Tag Archive | meeting

Jesus was not against organized religion according to the Bible

church 4”Organized religion” could be a church gathering with certain basic rules

Sometimes believers try to justify their separation from other Christians, as well as church meetings, with the idea that Jesus was against organized religion. The Bible says no such thing.

During the time of the apostles Christians often met in their homes, which makes sense since they could not always take over Jewish synagogues and start having assemblies there (but sometimes they did). The climate is usually very warm in the Middle East and this means that people often could gather outside, like on top of their buildings to make room for more people. Where I live (Sweden) it is a totally different matter, and it is a huge advantage if Christians have access to a large building in order to assemble several families who can worship together in a practical way. Hence, the idea of a large building with the very suitable name ”church” – since the building is supposed to be a place where Christian believers assemble. ἐκκλησία (ekklesia, Strong’s 1577) is often translated church and could mean an ”assembly of believers”. (An assembly of Christian believers or a church building are not necessarily Babylon ….)

Naturally a certain amount of rules must be implemented in order for everyone to have a pleasant time together in their worship. The Bible (particularly the book of Acts), gives us some details how such meetings could work out and why they are even needed. A church meeting (an assembly with Christians) provides a chance for everyone to hear sermons (from a pastor), to sing worship songs together, to hear prophesies, to get healed, to edify each other, etc. These things must logically be made in a certain order to avoid total chaos.

It is true that Christ is in our midst if 2-3 persons gather in his name, but 1) let us at least do that, and 2) this does not diminish the importance of having Christian assemblies with even more believers.

Matt. 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them

1 Cor. 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

Some Bible verses about gathering with Christians under structured conditions

It may not be a salvational matter to assemble with other Christians (and sometimes it is not even possible or preferable for various reasons), but it can be very edifying both for you and others. Maybe you believe that you know best anyway so why let some pastors speak and hold sermons you might disagree with? In that case, maybe you can enlighten fellow lost believers (like after the sermon in order to not disturb the peace). Or perhaps you are the one who needs to be enlightened after all. If you are only willing to attend a church meeting where you agree with the pastor about everything, then you will have to continue spending your Sundays alone. A church meeting is not solely there due to the sermons, but in order to have fellowship with other Christians, to sing worship songs together, etc.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching  

Below we get advice for church meetings:

Ja. 2:2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool

Ja. 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The ”laying on of hands” means to officially confirm a qualified person as an elder, which is an important task done by another elder. This is indeed ”organized religion”, and if everyone had obeyed Paul’s advice in selecting elders all would be well. Unfortunately Paul himself knew that there would be believers who would deviate from his teaching rather soon.

Titus 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:—7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;—9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 

1 Tim. 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

Below we can read about ”organized religion” in the book of Acts. 

Acts 2:41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and FELLOWSHIP, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles44And all that believed WERE TOGETHER, and had all things COMMON; 45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the TEMPLE, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

We can see above that Christians had fellowship with each other in the same place. Notice that 3000 people were saved and added to them the day in question. Baptism and breaking bread with others could not be possible unless Christians assembled together. Neither would signs and wonders have a large impact on people unless they were seen by others. Christians did not abandon the temple, even though they could of course assemble also in their homes.

When Paul was out travelling, he knew there were Christian assemblies that he could meet up with. We can see below that believers met together during a certain day and time, were taught in the temple and in homes, we can read about structured purifications and offerings,

Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the TEMPLE at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

Acts 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the TEMPLE, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Acts 4:19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 20Go, stand and speak in the TEMPLE to the people all the words of this life.

Acts 4:42 And daily in the TEMPLE, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Acts 9:19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20And straightway he preached Christ in the SYNAGOGES, that he is the Son of God.— 26And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 

Acts 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the SYNAGOGES of the Jews: and they had also JOHN TO THEIR MINISTER.-–14But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the SYNAGOGUE on the sabbath day, and sat down. 15And after the reading of the law and the prophets the RULERS of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and BRETHREN, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.–

Acts 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the SYNAGOGUE, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

Acts 14:1 And it came to pass in Iconium that together they both went into the SYNAGOGUE of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude of both the Jews and also of the GREEKS believed.

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the SYNAGOGUE every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the GREEKS.— 7And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God,whose house joined hard to the synagogue.8And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Acts 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a SYNAGOGUE of the Jews:2And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,—10And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.—-17Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Acts 18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the SYNAGOGUE, and reasoned with the Jews. —22And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.— 26And he began to speak boldly in the SYNAGOGUE: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.27And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: 28For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,—8And he went into the SYNAGOGUE, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.— 

Acts 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the TEMPLE, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. 27And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the TEMPLE, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,

Acts 22:17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the TEMPLE, I was in a trance;18And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every SYNAGOGUE them that believed on thee:

Acts 24:11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship. 12And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:—18Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the TEMPLE, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.

church9Church (ekklesia) is sometimes used in CONTRAST to a group of individual believers!

1 Tim. 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed. 4But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. — 9Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man. 10Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. 11But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;—16If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church (ekklesia) be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed. 17Let the ELDERS (presbyteroi) that rule well be counted worthy of DOUBLE HONOUR, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.—19Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses20Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Above, Paul gives instructions to the assembly of christians (the church) concerning the treatment of widows, and he advised them to preferably take care of their own family members (like widows) rather than having the church providing for them. In that way the church could focus on those with the most urgent needs. Apparently taking care of widows was one of many functions that the church had during this time. Paul also provided regulations concerning treatments of church elders, again indicating that christian meetings were ”organized”.

3 John 1:6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: — 9I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

The man Diotrephes refused to receive the brethren and he even cast them out of the CHURCH. So the true brethren are mentioned in contrast with the Church. The wicked person (in the church) cast them out of the church.

Acts 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church (ekklesian), and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.—

If we can never say ”I’m going to church” because we as christians are always the church wherever we go, then neither does the above verse make any sense. Here we can read that Paul, Barnabas etc were ”received” by the church. It is better to receive godly men into church, instead of casting them out as Diotrephes did.

1 Cor. 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.2Now I praise you, brethren,that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. —4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.—16But if any man seem to be contentious, WE have no such custom, NEITHER the churches of God. 17Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18For first of all, when ye come together in the churchI hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifestamong you20When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. 21For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.—30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.—33Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34And if any man hunger, let him eat at homethat ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

Above Paul contrasts (differentiates) ”we” with ”the church”. He is also talking about ”when ye come together in the Church”, which sounds like a physical place. Paul takes for granted that we are going away when we ”come together in the church” because he complains about people who take the chance to eat a lot of food while being in the church. Paul asks ”have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?” and ”if any man hunger, let him eat AT HOME”.

1 Cor. 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands AT HOME: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

Paul says above women should be silent in a teaching situation in church (not when it comes to singing, making prophesies, translating tongues, etc) and in this instance he is speaking of a certain place (away from home) and not a metaphor for believing people because he then gives permission for them to speak at home.

1 Cor.16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.— 15I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) 16That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. 17I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. 18For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.19The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 

2 Cor 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.—  19And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:— 

We are supposed to be the body of Christ, which means many members with many gifts and talents. God has set some in the church (the body of Christian members) to be apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. Paul speaks about the importance to use the spiritual gifts in a certain order – in an organized way.

1 Cor. 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.— 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Cor. 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.5 I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.— So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.— 11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. —16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.—  23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 

Here is a similar article about the same topic.

CONSTANTINE did not start the TRINITY doctrine at the Council of Nicaea

niceaThe First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops in Nicaea initiated by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325, and this was the first effort to reach a consensus in the church concerning some of new teachings that had emerged by this time. Its main accomplishments were settlement of the issue of the nature of Jesus Christ and the observance of the date of Easter.

Doctrines and ideas that Constantine did NOT start

Easter, the biblical canon, worship on a Sunday, worshiping of the sun, the trinity…Constantine did not start any new ideas at the council at Nicaea!

When it comes to Easter many get confused due to this English term and fear that this is a pagan holiday. Some even think that Constantine is guilty of introducing this pagan holiday into church, but that is not the case. The English-speaking countries might use the word ”Easter” for the holiday which is celebrated right after Good Friday, but other countries rather use the word Passover – or the equivalent in their languages. Passover is certainly not a pagan holiday (and it’s of course not a requirement to celebrate this holiday by decorating the house with chickens, hens, rabbits, eggs, etc), and you can read more about this controversy here. The council at Nicaea was used (among other things) to come to a consensus when it comes to selecting a proper date for the celebration of Easter (Passover), but that is not the same thing as introducing a pagan holiday into church.

There is no record of any discussion of the biblical canon at the council. Constantine commissioned fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople the year 331, but it’s not certain whether his request was for fifty copies of the entire Old and New Testaments or not. He did not commission any Bibles at the council itself. No historical evidence points to involvement on his part in selecting books for inclusion in commissioned Bibles. (The books that ended up in the Biblical canon were those who had always been regarded as valid testimonies of Jesus Christ, due to the witnesses that wrote them and due to the time when they were written. So it’s not that a group of people gathered together a few hundred years after the death of Jesus and started the book selection by using a blank sheet of paper and voted about it.)

Constantine cannot be blamed for starting the tradition to celebrate Sabbath on Sunday, since the early christians had already started to do this soon after the death of Jesus. See more here.

Constantine did not introduce the idea to perform sun worship rather than son worship. Sun and son might sound similar in English, but that’s certainly not the case in other languages. Constantine did not even speak English, and the council was not held in English.

The council of Nicaea dealt primarily with the issue of the deity of Christ. Over a century earlier the use of the term ”trinity” (Τριάςin Greek; trinitas in Latin) could be found in the writings of Origen (185-254) and Tertullian (160-220), and a general notion of a ”divine three” was expressed in the second century writings of Polycarp, Ignatius, and Justin Martyr. See some quotes below. The concept of the deity of Christ and the trinity can be found in numerous places in the Bible, as well as in the writings of the early church fathers – before the council at Nicaea took place.

It’s unfortunate that some christians get the wrong idea that certain doctrines started at Nicaea just because they were discussed there and just because a consensus was reached. If for instance the concept of the trinity (and/or deity of Christ) had its roots in the council at Nicaea, it shouldn’t have been taught prior to it – and particularly not in the Bible – but we can see that the contrary is the case. If both the Bible and the early church fathers (before the council at Nicaea) teach the same thing, it’s good evidence for that it can be trusted. One new idea which was introduced into church several hundred years after the death of Christ (around the time of Augustine), is the doctrine of the original sin – which only the gnostics taught. Augustine made this doctrine popular also in church, despite that the early church fathers before him fought against this gnostic doctrine. The doctrine of the trinity, however, has always been taught in the Bible and among the first church fathers. You can read more about the evidence for the trinity here.

Arianism (with its Trinitarian controversy) must not be looked upon as an isolated theory by its founder Arius 

The council did triumph over Arianism but confusion in theological terminology was the main reasons for a long drawn out battle. Arius  regarded the Logos (word) as no more than a power of the Father, and he believed that before time began the Father had created the Son by the power of the Word to be His agent in creation. The Son was  therefore not to be identified with the Godhead, and he was only God in a derivative sense. Since there was once a time when he did not exist, he could not be eternal, and he was actually neither proper God (since God the Father was before him and created him) nor proper man (since he was above all men due to his direct creation by God). Arius’ views began to spread among the people and Alexander the Bishop called a meeting of his priests and deacons to discuss the matter. The Bishop insisted on the unity of the Godhead, but Arius continued to argue that since the Son was begotten of the Father then at some point he began to exist.  The argument ended up dividing the church. Athanasius and friends insisted that the Son was as truly God as the Father.

Emperor Constantine was upset by this division so he summoned a conference of all the bishops of the church – but few representatives from the western churches made it to the meeting in Nicaea. There were still around 300 bishops, and the council agreed that Jesus is truly God, so it published a creed stating the Christian faith in a way that condemned Arianism. One account from the meeting is from History of the Church by Socrates Scholasticus (who wrote 100 years after Eusebius). Much of his account consists of direct quotations from Eusebius’s Life of the Constantine and from a letter of the earlier historian – and Eusebius was present at the council. Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia (not to be confused with Eusebius Pamphilus, Bishop of Caesarea) supported the opinion of Arius. These were opposed by Athanasius, a deacon of the Alexandrian church. This creed was agreed to by 318 members, and there were only five who refused to sign – objecting to the term homoousios, “of the same substance”.  The Emperor sent Arius into exile, along with Eusebius and Theognis and their followers. Eusebius and Theognis, however, wrote a declaration that they had changed their opinion and now agreed that the Son and the Father are of the same substance.

Quotes from old church fathers about the deity of Christ and the trinity

Jesus is not only the son of God, but also GOD IN FLESH.

For OUR GOD JESUS CHRIST, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost.” (Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:9)

”…GOD HIMSELF appearing in the form of a man, for the renewal of eternal life.” (Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:13)

”Continue inseparable from JESUS CHRIST OUR GOD.” (Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians 2:4)

”For even OUR GOD; JESUS CHRIST, know that He is in the Father”. (Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans 1:13) 

Brethren, WE OUGHT SO TO THINK OF JESUS CHRIST AS OF GOD : as of the judge of the living and the dead”. (2nd Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 1:1) 

”For Christ is King, and Priest, and GOD and Lord…” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho, 34)

”…He preexisted as the Son of the Creator of things, BEING GOD, and that He was born a man by the Virgin.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho, 48)

”Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High Priest Himself, THE GOD JESUS CHRIST, build you up in the faith…” (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Church at Philippi, 12)

”In order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and GOD, and Savior, and King…” (Irenaeus Against Heresies, 1.10.1)

”But he Jesus is himself in his own right, beyond all men who ever lived, GOD, Lord, and king eternal, and THE INCARNATE WORD, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles …The Scriptures would not have borne witness to these things concerning Him, if, like everyone else, He were mere man.” (Irenaeus Against Heresies 3:19.1-2) 

”For with Him were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, He made all things, to whom also He speaks, saying, ‘Let us make man after our image and likeness’”.(Irenaeus Against Heresies, 4:10)

Irenaeus, 115-190 ”The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: …one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father ‘to gather all things in one,’ and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and GOD, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, ‘every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess; to him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all…’” (Against Heresies X.l)

Tertullian, 160-225 ”We define that there are two, the Father and the Son, and three with the Holy Spirit, and this number is made by the pattern of salvation… [which] brings about unity in trinity, interrelating the three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are three, not in dignity, but in degree, not in substance but in form, not in power but in kind.  They are of one substance and power, because there is one God from whom these degrees, forms and kinds devolve in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” (Adv. Prax. 23; PL 2.156-7).

”We have also as a Physician the Lord OUR GOD JESUS THE CHRIST the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin.  For ‘the Word was made flesh.’ Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passable body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts.” (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975 rpt., Vol. 1, p. 52, Ephesians 7.)

Abraham’s meeting with GOD and two angels

abraham 2Justin Martyr, 100-165 AD

” I [Justin] inquired. And Trypho said, ”Certainly; but you have not proved from this that there is another God besides Him who appeared to Abraham, and who also appeared to the other patriarchs and prophets. YOU HAVE PROVED, however, that we [the Jews] were WRONG in believing that the three who were in the tent with Abraham were all angels.” I [Justin] replied again, ”If I could not have proved to you from the Scriptures that ONE OF THOSE THREE IS GOD, because, as I already said, He brings messages to those to whom God the Maker of all things wishes [messages to be brought], then in regard to Him who appeared to Abraham on earth IN HUMAN FORM IN LIKE MANNER AS THE TWO ANGELS who came with Him, and WHO AS GOD EVEN BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD, it were reasonable for you to entertain the same belief as is entertained by THE WHOLE OF YOUR NATION.” ”Assuredly,” he said, ”for up to this moment this has been our [the Jews] belief.” … ”And now have you not perceived, my friends, that one of the three, WHO IS BOTH GOD AND LORD, and ministers to Him who is in the heavens, is Lord of the two angels? For when [the angels] proceeded to Sodom, HE REMAINED BEHIND, and COMMUNED WITH ABRAHAMin the words recorded by Moses; and when He departed after the conversation, Abraham went back to his place. And when he came [to Sodom], the two angels no longer conversed with Lot, but Himself, as the Scripture makes evident; and He is the LORD who received commission from the LORD who [remains] in the heavens, i.e., the Maker of all things, to inflict upon Sodom and Gomorrah the [judgments] which the Scripture describes in these terms: ‘The Lord rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.’ ”(Dialogue of Justin Martyr, with Trypho, a Jew, Chapter LVI.—God Who Appeared to Moses is Distinguished from God the Father.)

Irenaeus,  115-190 AD

”Therefore neither would the Lord, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the apostles, have ever named as God, definitely and absolutely, him who was not God, unless he were truly God; nor would they have named any one in his own person Lord, except God the Father ruling over all, and His Son who has received dominion from His Father over all creation, as this passage has it: ”The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” Here the [Scripture] represents to us the Father addressing the Son; He who gave Him the inheritance of the heathen, and subjected to Him all His enemies. Since, therefore, the Father is truly Lord, and the Son truly Lord, the Holy Spirit has fitly designated them by the title of Lord. And again, referring to the destruction of the Sodomites, the Scripture says, ”Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah fire and brimstone from the LORD out of heaven.” For it here points out that the Son, who had also been talking with Abraham, had received power to judge the Sodomites for their wickedness. And this [text following] does declare the same truth:”Thy throne, O GOD; is for ever and ever; the scepter of Thy kingdom is a right scepter. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore GOD, Thy God, hath anointed Thee.” Forthe Spirit designates both [of them] BY THE NAME; OF GOD — both Him who is anointed as Son, and Him who does anoint, that is, the Father.” (Irenaeus, Book 3, ch 6)

Tertullian, 160-225 AD

”That is a still grander statement [of Christ’s deity] which you will find expressly made in the Gospel: ”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There was One ”who was,” and there was another ”with whom” He was. But I find in Scripture the name Lord also applied to them Both: ”The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand.” And Isaiah says this: ”Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? ” Now he would most certainly have said Thine Arm, if he had not wished us to understand that the Father is Lord, and the Son also is Lord. A much more ancient testimony [of Christ’s deity] we have also in Genesis: ”Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.” Now, either deny that this is Scripture; or else (let me ask) what sort of man you are, that you do not think words ought to be taken and understood in the sense in which they are written, especially when they are not expressed in allegories and parables, but in determinate and simple declarations?” (Tertullian, Against Praxeas, Chapter XIII.

 Ignatius, 30-117 AD

”For Moses, the faithful servant of God, when he said, ”The Lord thy God is one Lord,” and thus proclaimed that there was only one God, did yet forthwith confess also our Lord [Jesus] when he said, ”The Lord [Jesus] rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone from the Lord.” And again [he confessed a second time our Lord Jesus by saying], ”And God said, Let Us make man after our image: and so God made man, after the image of God made He him.”” (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Antiochians, Chapter II.—The True Doctrine Respecting God and Christ.)

Cyprian, 200-258 AD

”In the Gospel according to John: ”The Father judgeth nothing, but hath given all judgment unto the Son, that all may honour the Son as they honour the Father. He who honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father who hath sent Him.” Also in the seventy-first Psalm: ”O GOD, give the king Thy judgment, and Thy righteousness to the king’s son, to judge Thy people in righteousness.”Also in Genesis: ”And the LORD rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur, and fire from heaven from the LORD.”” (The Treatises of Cyprian, Treatise XII. Three Books of Testimonies Against the Jews. Third Book., Testimonies., 33. That the Father judgeth nothing, but the Son; and that the Father is not glorified by him by whom the Son is not glorified.)

Novatian, 200–258 AD

”For who does not acknowledge that the person of the Son is second after the Father, when he reads that it was said by the Father, consequently to the Son, ”Let us make man in our image and OUR likeness; ” and that after this it was related, ”And God made man, in the image of God made He him? ”Or when he holds in his hands: ”The LORD rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone from the LORD from heaven? ” (A Treatise of Novatian Concerning the Trinity, Chapter XXVI. Argument.—Moreover, Against the Sabellians He Proves that the Father is One, the Son Another.)

”Therefore the Lord overturned Sodom, that is, GOD overturned Sodom; but in the overturning of Sodom, the LORD rained fire from the LORD. And this Lord was the God seen by Abraham; and this God was the guest of Abraham, certainly seen because He was also touched. But although the Father, being invisible, was assuredly not at that time seen, He who was accustomed to be touched and seen was seen and received to hospitality. BUT THIS THE SON OF GOD,”The LORD rained from the LORD upon Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire.”And this is the Word of God. And THE WORD OF GOD WAS MADE FLESH, AND DWLTH AMNG US; AND THIS IS CHRIST. IT WAS NOT THE FATHER, THEN WHO WAS A GUEST WITH ABRAHAM, BUT CHRISTNOR WAS IT THE FATHER WHO WAS SEEN THEN; , BUT THE SON; AND CHRIST WAS SEEN. Rightly, therefore, CHRIST IS BOTH LORD AND GOD, who was not otherwise seen by Abraham, EXCEPT THAT AS GOD THE WORD He was begotten of God the Father before Abraham himself.” (A Treatise of Novatian Concerning the Trinity, Chapter XVIII. Argument.—Moreover Also, from the Fact that He Who Was Seen of Abraham is Called God; Which Cannot Be Understood of the Father, Whom No Man Hath Seen at Any Time; But of the Son in the Likeness of an Angel.)

Constitutions of the Holy Apostles

”To Him did Moses bear witness, and said: ”The LORD received fire from the LORD, and rained it down.” HIM DID JACOB SEE AS A MAN, and said: ”I have seen God face to face, and my soul is preserved.”HIM DID ABRAHAM ENTERTAIN, and acknowledge to be the Judge, and HIS LORD.” (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book V. XX. A Prophetic Prediction Concerning Christ Jesus.)

1 Mos. 1:26 Gud sade: ”Låt oss göra människor till VÅR AVBILD, till att vara lika OSS. De skall råda över fiskarna i havet och över fåglarna under himlen, över boskapsdjuren och över hela jorden och över alla kräldjur som rör sig på jorden.” 27 Och Gud skapade MÄNNISKAN till sin avbild, till GUDS AVBILD skapade han henne, till man och kvinna skapade han dem.image

Epistle of Barnabas, 74 AD

”For the Scripture says concerning US, while He speaks to the SON, ”Let Us make man after Our image, and after Our likeness” (Epistle of Barnabas, Chapter VI.—The Sufferings of Christ, and the New Covenant, Were Announced by the Prophets.)

The Letter of Barnabas 74 AD

”And further, my brethren, if the Lord [Jesus] endured to suffer for our soul, he being the Lord of all the world, to whom God said at the foundation of the world, ‘Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness,’ understand how it was that he endured to suffer at the hand of men” (Letter of Barnabas 5)

Justin Martyr, 100-165 AD

Idén att Moses skulle mena att det var änglar som åsyftades med ”till vår avbild”, är en villolära, säger Justin

”In saying, therefore, ‘as one of us, ‘[Moses] has declared that [there is a certain] number of persons associated with one another, and that they are at least two. For I would not say that the dogma of that heresy which is said to be among you (The Jews had their own heresies which supplied many things to the Christian heresies) is true, or that the teachers of it can prove that [God] spoke to angels, or that the human frame was the workmanship of angels. But this Offspring, which was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures.” (Dialogue of Justin Martyr, with Trypho, a Jew: Chapter LXII.—The Words ”Let Us Make Man”)

Irenaeus, 115-190 AD

”It was not angels, therefore, who made us, nor who formed us, neither had angels power to make an image of God, nor any one else, except the Word of the Lord, nor any Power remotely distant from the Father of all things. For God did not stand in need of these [beings], in order to the accomplishing of what He had Himself determined with Himself beforehand should be done, as if He did not possess His own hands. For with Him were always present the Word and Wisdom,the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, He made all things, to whom also He speaks, saying, ”Let Us make man after Our image and likeness; ” [Gen. 1:26]” (Against Heresies 4:20:1).

Tertullian,  160-225 AD

”If the number of the Trinity also offends you, as if it were not connected in the simple Unity, I ask you how it is possible for a Being who is merely and absolutely One and Singular, to speak in plural phrase, saying, ”Let us make man in our own image, and after our own likeness; ” whereas He ought to have said, ”Let me make man in my own image, and after my own likeness,” as being a unique and singular Being?In the following passage, however, ”Behold the man is become as one of us,” He is either deceiving or amusing us in speaking plurally, if He is One only and singular. Or was it to the angels that He spoke, as the Jews interpret the passage, because these also acknowledge not the Son? Or was it because He was at once the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, that He spoke to Himself in plural terms, making Himself plural on that very account? Nay, it was because He had already His Son close at His side, as a second Person, His own Word, and a third Person also, the Spirit in the Word, that He purposely adopted the plural phrase, ”Let us make; ”and, ”in our image; ”and, ”become as one of us.” (Tertullian, Against Praxeas, Chapter XII. Other Quotations from Holy Scripture Adduced in Proof of the Plurality of Persons in the Godhead.)

”Since then he is the image of the Creator (for He, when looking on Christ His Word, who was to become man, said, ”Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness”), how can I possibly have another head but Him whose image I am? For if I am the image of the Creator there is no room in me for another head” (Tertullian, Book V, Elucidations, Chapter VIII.—Man the Image of the Creator, and Christ the Head of the Man.)

”In the first place, because all things were made by the Word of God, and without Him was nothing made. Now the flesh, too, had its existence from the Word of God, because of the principle, that here should be nothing without that Word. ”Let us make man,” said He, before He created him, and added, ”with our hand,” for the sake of his pre-eminence, that so he might not be compared with the rest of creation.” (Tertullian: On the Resurrection of the Flesh, Elucidations, Chapter V.—Some Considerations in Reply Eulogistic of the Flesh. It Was Created by God.)

Origen, 184-254 AD

”it was to Him that God said regarding the creation of man, ”Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” (Origen Against Celsus, Book V, Chapter XXXVII)

Novatian, 200–258 AD

”For who does not acknowledge that the person of the Son is second after the Father, when he reads that it was said by the Father, consequently to the Son, ”Let us make man in our image and our likeness; ” and that after this it was related, ”And God made man, in the image of God made He him? ”Or when he holds in his hands: ”The Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone from the Lord from heaven? ” (A Treatise of Novatian Concerning the Trinity, Chapter XXVI. Argument.—Moreover, Against the Sabellians He Proves that the Father is One, the Son Another.)

Constitutions of the Holy Apostles

”the divine Scripture testifies that God said to Christ, His only-begotten, ”Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness. And God made man: after the image of God made He him; male and female made He them.”(Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book V., VII)

You can read many more quotes in this article