Our children will never know a time before a smart phone, an iPad, or many of the other technological achievements that have come about over the past 10 years. We are truly light years ahead of where we were in the year 2000. Imagine where we will be in another 10 years, or 20 years. Honestly you probably can’t correctly predict what the next big technological breakthrough will be. If you can you better head to the New York Stock Exchange NOW.
But think about it, our children will never be able to imagine what the 1900s, the 20th Century, was like. They can read history, look at pictures, watch documentaries’, but they will never really know and understand the little things. Just as most of us cannot comprehend what life was really like to live in the 1800s, a time before automobiles or phones, or even electricity. Just think about that, let it sink it. There is so much forgotten knowledge about what life was like then. That is just over 100 years ago.
Now think about over 200 years ago at the time of the American Revolution. Now we are really starting to hit a mental barrier. Think about the reformation; think about the crusades, the inquisitions, all the way back through time. We simply cannot imagine what it was like. Most images that come to mind are from scenes of movies or paintings.
But it has always been like this with every passing century and generation. That’s just history; it is even harder to interpret texts from long ago. Does anyone remember in High School when you had to read a poem or story from the early 1900s or 1800s and give an interpretation of what it meant? You would read and think you would have an understanding based on the words in front of you and include your own experiences and form your opinion. An opinion that was most likely wrong because a pink elephant represented abortion or something like that, something you would have never ever thought of at such a young age. (Back then anyway) Getting the correct meaning was nearly impossible unless the context of the events the author was experiencing at the time was explained.
Here is a hypothetical situation: Let’s say that the Founding Fathers of the United States wrote the Constitution and then all of their other writings explaining the document were lost to us forever. What if for 100 years we had no writings explaining why they wrote what they wrote. Then around the time of the post Civil War period we have politicians writing about what the founders were trying to say in the constitution. What if we today, only having what the post Civil War crowd said about the writings of the Revolutionary War crowd, took those interpretations as total, 100% gospel? Do you think those opinions would have been really what the people in the 1700s meant?
What if the South would have won the war and they were the ones interpreting the Constitution. Talk about someone who would have likely changed things up a little interpretation wise.
The people who control history and the interpretation of past events shape the world. At least this was the case in Christianity.
It is undeniable that what we call Christianity started as a movement within Judaism. A matter of fact is that “The Way”, as it was called, was one of over 20 different denominational sects within the religion. These sects included Pharisees and Sadducees which are two of the most well-known due to their place in the Gospels. Within the 1st Century Church, known in Church History as the Apostolic Age, the majority of the first followers of Christ were Jews. Christ preached to the Jews, Jews were the majority of converts on the day of Pentecost, and many of the converts to Christianity over the Levant were Jews.
In all truth it could be said that the Apostolic Age was also the Hebraic Christian Age. However much of what we know about the earliest Christianity, doctrines, beliefs, church structure, just about all comes from a later age, known as the Ante-Nicene Period. This period of Christianity is the 2nd and 3rd Centuries until the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.
By the time this period of time even started there was almost a complete split between Christianity and Judaism. Somewhere between the Great Jewish Revolt of 70 AD that resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and the second Temple and the Bar Kokhba revolt from 132-136 AD, the split was finalized. It was between and after this time that the center for all things Christian became Rome and the center for all things related to Judaism became Babylon. Who actually initiated the split is up for debate. Some say it was the Jews not wanting to associate with, what they perceived, as the heretical Christians. While others think the Christians initiated the split due to not wanting more of a wrath from Rome by being associated with the rebellious Jews.
Either way, out of the 20+ sects of Judaism emerged just two, Christians and Rabbinical Jews. Both of which have survived to this day and both have forgotten where they came from. Christians today rely upon the texts of the Church of Rome who dictated Christian doctrine and law during the Ante-Nicene Period (from 100 AD) to the Late Ancient Church Age ending in 476 AD. Jews rely upon the Rabbinical Talmud which was compiled by the Rabbis in Babylon.
Hundreds of years had passed and just as our example earlier stated, people who could have never known what it was like to be a Hebrew Christian in the 1st Century, or even a Hebrew writing the Old Testament, interpreted writings from what little they knew and from their own experiences.
Today, separated by thousands of years, we continue to attempt to relay upon our own understanding and experiences to interpret scripture. However, in order to do so properly, one must be willing to know the Old Testament before the New and one must also be willing to study world history and look into what life was really like from the 1st Century AD back to the creation of the world. It is not easy and it takes time but you will understand scripture more clearly by doing this for yourself.