One of the fans of this blog’s Facebook page sent me a pamphlet entitled Constantine’s Creation of Jesus Christ by Kerrie French. This title alone betrays its conspiracy theme. Reading its first two pages, it became clear to me that the write-up is aimed at misleading folks into the Sacred Name Movement (SNM), a sect linked to the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM).
The SNM began within the Church of God (Seventh-Day), propagated by Clarence Dodd in the 1930s, which seeks to conform Christianity to its ‘Hebrew Roots’ in practice, belief and worship. SNM groups advocate for the use of the “sacred name” of God as Yahweh (though there’s no agreement on this) and Jesus as Yahshua (varied as well) and keeping Old Testament laws.
Now, when a new religious movement claims to have “the only truth” or an exclusive understanding of an old truth, its truth claims need to be critically examined. To this end, I will be rebutting the main arguments in this pamphlet:
It appears that in A.D. 325, a new god was conceived within the black and white marble halls of Roman Catholicism … Constantine’s intention at Nicea was to create an entirely new god for his empire who would unite all religious factions under one deity. Presbyters were asked to debate and decide who their god would be. Delegates argued among themselves, expressing personal motives for inclusion of particular writings that promoted the finer traits of their own special deity (p. 1-2).
Each sentence here is patently false. There was no Roman Catholicism in the 4th century. Not one single person at the Council of Nicea adheres to the definitive doctrines of Roman Catholicism. The intention of the Council of Nicaea was to settle a Christological controversy caused by a presbyter named Arius who denied the deity of Christ. It was never about “creating a god.”
It is a rather shameless and deceptive undertaking for someone to distort a documented historical event that is well-attested to by ancient sources in the name of presenting the truth. Even a heathen shouldn’t stoop that low. Here are three standard reference works on the council of Nicea:
Throughout the meeting, howling factions were immersed in heated debates, and the names of 53 gods were tabled for discussion. “As of yet, no god had been selected by the council, and so they balloted in order to determine that matter. . . For one year and five months the balloting lasted. . .” God’s Book of Eskra, Prof. S.L. MacGuire’s translation, Salisbury, 1922, chapter xlviii, paragraphs 36, 41 (p. 2-3).
Again, we are treated to mythical assertions. I personally wonder why, of all the councils in church history, Nicea seems to be the favourite dream works studio of conspiracy fiction writers and anti-Christians who re-write history when it doesn’t play their game. Kerrie laces this paragraph with a source to feign legitimacy, but that is a smoking gun right there.
An entry of the quote and God’s Book of Eskra into Google shows that this quote and alleged source is identical on SNM websites. These guys just mindlessly parrot and copy one another without any recourse to intellectual scrutiny.
God’s Book of Eskra is not a historical source. It was an occult legendary book called Oahspe, written by a dentist named John Ballow Newbrough and published in 1882. Newbrough admitted his work came from spirits (“automatic writing”) without any prior text before him. The translator “Prof. S. L. MacGuire” was obviously made up since the Oahspe was already written in English. A search of “S. L. MacGuire God’s Book of Eskra” on WorldCat (a compendium of 71,000 library catalogues in 112 countries) turns up no relevant hit.
These SNM websites got the quote in question from one original source: Tony Bushby’s Forged Origins of the New Testament (2007). Bushby must have fabricated “Prof. S.L. MacGuire” and his alleged “translation” to make Newbrough’s book appear as an ancient source. So there are three strikes against this one: a false claim, a fraudulent reference and a demonic source. Absolutely invalid!
I invite my readers to read about the council of Nicaea from both Judaic and Catholic sources and draw their own conclusions:
Constantine was the ruling spirit at Nicaea and he ultimately decided upon a new god for them. To involve British factions, he ruled that the name of the Druid god, “Hesus,” be joined with the Eastern Saviour-god, Krishna (Krishna is Sanskrit for Christ), and thus “Hesus Krishna” [Jesus Christ] would be the official name of the New Roman god (p. 3).
The post-Nicene detour of Roman churches into Arianism and the necessity of the Council of Constantinople to redress this is one proof that Constantine wasn’t the ruling spirit at Nicaea.
The Gaulish god, Esus, has no connection with Jesus (an Anglicized name). This writer fondly imagines that the people at Nicea and the Celtic Druids spoke English language. According to this goofy reasoning, Constantine picked a Celtic god, joined it to an Indian god to become a “new Roman god”! This nonsense is beyond belief.
The name Jesus is an English transliteration of the Hebrew Yeshua or Yehoshua and Greek Iēosus. It literally means “the LORD (or Yahweh) is salvation.” Centuries before a council held in Nicaea, the Bible speaks of several people bearing this name:
Jesus Barabbas, a prisoner released by Pontius Pilate before Jesus was crucified (Mt. 27:16-17 REB); an ancestor of Jesus (Lk. 3:29); Joshua, son of Nun (Acts 7:45); Jesus Justus, a Jewish Christian who with the apostle Paul sent greetings to the Colossians (Col. 4:11) (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, ed. Ronald Youngblood, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995, 658).
Whether it’s spelled Jesus, Joshua or Yeshua, it means the same: the Lord our salvation (Matt. 1:21). Changing a name from one language to another does not change the meaning of the name nor does it change the character or identity of the person.
Following long-standing heathen custom, Constantine used the official gathering and the Roman apotheosis decree to legally deify two deities as one, and did so by democratic consent. A new god was proclaimed and “officially” ratified by Constantine (p. 3).
This is straight from the fevered imaginations of Tony Bushby, but with a twist. While Bushby asserts the Bible was formed at Nicea, Kerrie French and his SNM comrades claim a “new god” was proclaimed there. Notice his choice of words too. He vaguely refers to “heathen custom,” that a man gathered people to “legally deify two deities as one” by “democratic consent.” This is gobbledygook, even by heathen standards.
If there was such a decree, it would be documented. The writer resorts to demagoguery in place of facts. He strings together big words to dazzle his uninformed readers when in actual fact, he’s saying nonsense.
Some authorities, who have spent their entire lives studying the origins of names, believe that “Jesus” actually means— “Hail Zeus!” For Iesous in Greek is “Hail Zeus.” That is, “Ie” translates as “Hail” and “sous” or “sus” is Zeus. Dictionary of Christian Lore and Legend, J.C.J. Melford, 1983, p. 126.
No quotation from the source is given, but in some SNM website where this line was copied from, the quote appears to have been astutely wrenched from its context. Notice that the writer talks about “some authorities who have spent their entire lives studying the origins of names,” but gave only one source that can’t even be termed an authority. This is cultic politics of language: maximal claims, minimal output.
Initially, he says Jesus was an amalgam of a Celtic and Indian god which became a Roman god, now he says the name is of a Greek god. This writer couldn’t even convince himself.
The Greek word for “hail” is xaipe or xaipete and it’s not a constituent of the name Iēosus. The name Iēosus is found in the Greek Septuagint, a translation dating to the B.C. era. First century works of Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, written in Koine Greek also refers to at least 20 different people with the name Iēosus (Jesus) (Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd, The Jesus Legend, Baker Pub., 2007, 129).
That the name ends with “sus” or “sous” furnishes no evidence that it’s from Zeus. That a certain word or word part sounds like another is no proof of commonality. For instance, it would be insane for someone to say that Yahuwah was stolen from the Sumerian monster deity named Huwawa because of the phonetic similarity. Yet this is the dark, twisted logic being touted by SNM adherents.
Apparently, this new fabricated name was applied throughout the pages of the Scripture’s Renewed Covenant (NT), radically altering every reference of Yahusha יהושׁע (H#3091) the Messiah to “Hail Zeus-Krishna” (Jesus Christ). Deceptively, the reference to Christ was never a Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Messiah, but it specifically comes from the name of a pagan god, Christna, most commonly spelled Krishna (p. 3)
Bear in mind that Sacred Name and Hebrew Roots adherents deny the validity of the Greek New Testament, asserting that it was “originally” written in Aramaic – a claim that is rather a testament to their profound delusion. Thus, when this writer calls the NT “Renewed covenant,” he is peddling an agenda that denies the plain differences between the Old and New covenants.
He also alleges that the Bible has been “radically altered.” On pg. 4, he writes: “Who said the Scriptures remain pure and undefiled? Should we not be wise to discern what else has been changed, manipulated, or removed?” This is the convenient cop out cultists mouth when they realise their folly cannot be substantiated by Scripture. The NT was written in Greek, so there wasn’t any need for the Hebrew name of Jesus to be expunged from it. Moreover, His Hebrew name is Yeshua (or Jeshua) not Yahusha.
John F. Sawyer, Professor of Religious Studies at University of Newcastle, England, has this to say about the word “Christ”:
“The word is derived from the common biblical Hebrew word māšîah, meaning ‘anointed.’ In Greek it is transcribed as messias and translated as christos. In the Hebrew Bible, the term is most often used of kings, whose investiture was marked especially by anointing oil” (The Oxford Companion to the Bible, eds. Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, Oxford Press, 1993, 513).
The birth of what is known today as CHRISTIANITY did not exist until Constantine united his empire under the name of his newly fabricated god “Jesus Christ” … Simply, no one was a Christian prior to A.D. 325. All the churches that claim to be Christian today are merely daughters of the Roman stylized system of false worship of “Hail Zeus-Christna” (p. 4).
Certainly, once you eliminate the Lord Jesus from the equation and dismiss the validity of Scripture, the next logical step is to throw 17 centuries of historic, orthodox Christianity under the bus. What you end up with might appear ‘Christian’ but it’s the kingdom of cults. This is the logical plinth on which Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, and Christian Science cults are based.
They first have to abjure church history to justify their own existence. That way, they can easily claim to be “restoring ancient Christianity.” The logic is: no one got it right until we alone came on the scene. At least, most aren’t ridiculous to the extent of declaring that no one was a Christian prior to 325 A.D.
The Christianized churches continue to utilize the fabricated terms to replace Yahuah יהוה with “the Lord,” and perpetuate the contrived tradition of replacing Yahusha ,יהושׁע the Messiah, with “Jesus Christ” (Hail Zeus-Christna) (p. 5).
Notice a pattern. Each time the writer refers to Jesus, he finds it necessary to include Zeus-Krishna in brackets beside it. This is aimed to program an unwary reader’s mind to associate the name of Jesus with pagan deities even though this lacks a factual basis. This is Pavlovian brainwashing, utilized by most cults.
In the Old Testament, God revealed Himself by different names. In more than 6,000 times, He is revealed as YHWH (often pronounced as Yahweh) which is likely related to the verb “to be” (Ex. 6:6; 20:2). He is designated as Adonai, which means “lord” or “master” 449 times. Adhon reveals God’s authority as Master, One who is sovereign in His rule (Ps. 110:1; Hos. 12:14).
He is also designated as Elohim, a plural Hebrew form more than 2,000 times (Dt. 32:17; Josh. 3:10) (Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, Moody Press, 2008, 201).
Therefore, when a group places an extreme emphasis on a certain name of God and builds a castle around it, alleging it is “suppressed information” a cultic mindset is being instilled into its adherents. Interestingly, in Scripture, the term elohim is also used as a generic term for “god” as when speaking of the Philistine god Dagon (“elohim” 1 Sam. 5:7); Chemosh, the god (“elohim”) of Ammon and Moab (Jgs. 11:24) and Milcom (1 Kgs 11:33). But SNM don’t push out articles on the name elohim.
Here is the point: the context and usage determines who is being referred to. When apostle Paul quotes Psalm 117:1 “Praise the LORD (Yahweh), all you nations…”, and then writes, “Praise the Lord (Kurios), all you Gentiles…” (Rom.15:11), every right thinking reader sees that Yahweh is equivalent to the Lord Jesus. Whether in Greek (Iēsous), Latin (Iesus), Arabic (Yesu), French (Jésus) or Yoruba/Igbo (Jesu), the name of Jesus carries the same power and authority in setting free men from sin and Satan.
The writer says false religious organizations don’t observe “Yahuah’s sacred seventh-day Sabbaths and/or set-apart Feast Days of Scripture … [They are] lacking in the knowledge of the truth unto salvation and the power bestowed in the true sacred names” (p. 7).
Let no legalist or “sacred name” nutter make an idol out of a language and bring us back under bondage of the Old Testament laws. This pamphlet states its agenda when it says: “Names have meanings, but it is not proper to translate them” (p. 10).
SNM heretics have so much idolized Hebrew language that they believe any translation of Jesus’ name into any language on earth other than Hebrew must be despised and demonized in every sort of way – whether by hook or crook. That is the fundamental assumption underlying this excuse of a pamphlet.
Nothing in it is new however. For many years, enemies of the Gospel have tried in vain to parallel Jesus with Attis, Mithras, Krishna or Horus. The difference now is that the atheists, agnostics and skeptics have left it up to modern day Judaizers who claim to be Christians to regurgitate their delusion.