The Jews in the first century were prejudiced against Samaritans.
The Samaritans were remnants of the Northern kingdom of Israel, which had established its capital in Samaria.
Judah, the Southern kingdom, had established its capital in Jerusalem
When the Assyrians invaded and carried away the Jews into captivity, those living in Samaria who remained intermarried with other non-Jewish people groups.
As a result, Samarians were not seen as pure Jews. Jewish prejudice was religious as well, rooted in a dispute over the proper place to worship God. See John 4: 20 (“Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”)
Consequently, Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans, as John noted. See John 4:9 (“For Jews do not associate with Samaritans”). It is also believed by many historians, that Jews would even walk around Samaria rather than through it when traveling north from Jerusalem.
Should churches be holding worship services in the midst of the pandemic?
I don’t think it’s a hard question.
But it has apparently become difficult to answer.
My goal here is to hopefully bring some clarity to the issue and clear away some of what obfuscates providing an answer.
Let me start by saying if you believe the pandemic is not real but the result of a conspiracy between Anthony Fauci and Trump-hating Democrats, or that the 98,000 American deaths from COVID-19 are grossly exaggerated because of a secret agreement to miscode them, or that COVID-19 is no more deadly or contagious than the flu, you need not read any further. Continue reading “Church Services During The Pandemic?”
Justinian was emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 527 A.D. to 565 A.D.
Justinian ruled from Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the richest city in the world, and the capital of Christendom.
Constantinople was surrounded on three sides by water, and its land facing side was protected by wall 40 feet high and 4 miles long. That wall would successfully protect the city from invasion for 1,100 years.
In addition, the Byzantines had Greek Fire, the best kept secret and most powerful weapon of the medieval world, and only the Byzantines had it. It was the medieval equivalent of a nuclear weapon.
In 533 A.D. Justinian published the Institutes of Justinian, a codification of Roman law considered one of the great achievements in legal history, was published.
Then in 537 A.D. Justinian completed construction of the Hagia Sophia, the largest church in the world. It would remain the largest church in the world for the next 1,000 years.
I’m guessing then that by 537 A.D., Justinian was feeling pretty good about himself, his city, and his empire.
Most people would say having a plague named after you is not something you’d hope for.
But all things considered it’s probably better than being forgotten.
In the case of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, my guess he is would not complain.
Cyprian would know, as you now know, that the plague is named after him because of his letter describing how Christians should respond to the plague.
The letter has survived 1800 years and provides the most vivid description of a plague some contend changed the course of the Roman Empire.
The plague of Cyprian struck in 249 and hung around for nearly twenty years, although the worst of the plague was seen in the years 249 A.D. to 262. The plague was so contagious some believed it was passed through sight and others attributed it to “corrupted air” that had swept through the Roman Empire, but even worse, the symptoms were grisly and deadly. As Cyprian wrote: Continue reading “Kingdom History: The Plague of Cyprian”