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|Part of the series Mirianism|
|‘Idtā d-Madniiḥā d-Miryin|
|1||Foundations of Faith|
|*||Discussion on Mirianism|
Mirian foundations of faith (Mirian Syriac: sāmkē’ d-haymenuw) are loosely based upon the doctrines handed down from the Apostles and Church Fathers, and primarily based upon the life and teachings of Yešuwa‘ Mašiyaḥ. It is also a continuation and reformation of the succession of Rabban (Mar) Babowai in the Assyrian Church of the East of Persia that ended with his execution by Persian kings and the establishment of a Nestorian bishop in his place.
Teachings and Doctrines
- For Mirian views on God, see here.
The Greatest Commandment
In order to try the judgment of Yešuwa‘ concerning the Law of Moses, a teacher of the Law questioned him about which of the Mosaic commandments is the greatest (Mark 12:28-34; cf. Matthew 22:41-46). Love for, and faith in, the one true God is the first and greatest commandment, and the sum of all the commands of the first tablet of the Ten Commandments. "Our love of God must be sincere, not in word and tongue only. All our love is too little to bestow upon him, therefore all the powers of the soul must be engaged for him, and carried out toward him. To love our neighbor as ourselves, is the second great commandment" (Matt. 22:41-46).
"There is a self-love (pride) which is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins, and it must be put off and mortified; but there is a self-love which is the rule of the greatest duty: we must have a due concern for the welfare of our own souls and bodies. And we must love our neighbor as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves; in many cases we must deny ourselves for the good of others" (Matt. 22:41-46).
These two laws are separate, but are inseparable. No one can truly love God without truly loving his/her neighbor, and no one can truly love his/her neighbor without truly loving God.
The Fundamental Teachings of Mašyaḥ
Yešwa‘'s First Preaching
At the dawn of his ministry, Yešwa‘ preached that "the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand". Although this preaching originated with John the Baptist, Yeshwa began his ministry via this preaching after being baptized by John and his (John's) arrest. Yeshwa preaches John's message in order to continue his ministry and to establish its true meaning. He also preaches this to inform people that they must change themselves in order to cultivate khayā (salvation), through metanoia (Tawba; literally "to restore"):
- απο τοτε ηρξατο ο ιησους κηρυσσειν και λεγειν μετανοειτε ηγγικεν γαρ η βασιλεια των ουρανων.
- From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, 'Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
- (Matthew 4:17)
Teshmashthā (Ministry) of Yešwa‘
Ma’mrā’ ‘l-Ṭawrā’ (Sermon on the Mount)
- Gadānuwtā’ (The Beatitudes)
The beatitudes present in both Matthew and Luke are:
1. The poor (Matthew has "poor in spirit"). The text says that theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Mourners (Luke has "those who are weeping"). The text says that they will be comforted (Luke has "will laugh").
3. The hungry (Matthew has "hunger and thirst after righteousness"). The text says that they will be filled (Luke has "be satisfied").
4. Those persecuted for seeking righteousness (rather than righteousness, Luke has "followers of the Son of Man"). The text says that theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The beatitudes only present in Matthew are:
5. The "meek". The text says that they will "inherit the earth".
6. The "merciful". The text says that they will "obtain mercy".
7. The "pure of heart". The text says that they will "see God".
8. The "peacemakers". The text says that they will be called "the children of God".
Wikipedia states, "The blessed nature that these characteristics endow is not meant to be considered from a worldly perspective, but from a psychological perspective. The word traditionally translated into English as 'blessed' or 'happy' is in the Greek original μακαριος (makarios). A more literal translation into contemporary English may be 'possessing an inward contentedness and joy that is not affected by the physical circumstances'. The Beatitudes imply that people not normally considered blessed on Earth are in fact blessed by God and will experience the Kingdom of Heaven."
- Melaḥ uw-Nehuwr (Salt and Light)
"Salt and Light is a metaphor used by Yešwa‘ in the gospel of Matthew with parallels in the gospels of Luke and Thomas. Matthew splits the metaphor of Salt and Light into two - the salt of the earth and the light of the world, the second being somewhat extended by further metaphors used to emphasise it - a city on a hill cannot be hid and you don't light a candle only to put it under a bowl, while the first is extended by the metaphor that salt which has lost its flavour is cast out. The exact meaning of the expression salt of the earth is disputed, in part because salt had a wide number of uses in the ancient world."
Mirianism tends to favor the salt metaphor as talking about the use of salt as a preservative and hence the most common interpretation of the metaphor is as asserting the duty to preserve the purity of the world.
- Pawnāyā d-Niimowsā (Expounding of the Law)
" 'The law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil' lies at the heart of how different Christian groups view the Mosaic law as there are a wide number of interpretations of what is meant by fulfil. Fulfil is interpreted as meaning any of the following: establish, confirm, validate, complete, actualise, properly explain, accomplish, or obey. In contrast, Marcion's version of Luke 23:2 states: 'We found this fellow perverting the nation and destroying the law and the prophets.' "
- "A fulfillment and reinterpretation of Mosaic Law and in particular the
- Ten Commandments, contrasting with what "you have heard" from others,
- also known as the Antitheses of the Law."
As well as a more general discussion about adherence to the law, the expositions individually cover the following aspects in greater detail:
1. Anger (Argiizūthā) (Matthew 5:21-26, Luke 12:58-59)
2. Adultery (Gowrā) (Matthew 5:27-30, Mark 9:43-47)
3. Divorce (Dowlelā) (Matthew 5:31-32,19:7-9, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11,7:26-28)
4. Oaths (Mumātā) (Matthew 5:33-37, James 5:12)
5. Retaliation (Purānūthā) (Matthew 5:38-42, Luke 6:29-31,6:34-35)
6. Love for Enemies (Akhebib l-beldbābā) (Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 6:27-28,6:32-33,6:36)
- Khezai (Discourse on Ostentation)
The discourse on ostentation, or Khezai, is a section within the Sermon on the Mount that condemns ostentatious behaviour, especially in religious matters. This section of the sermon may argue in the support of a type of asceticism. This section breaks down into four sub-sections - on Alms (Ziidkhathā), Prayer (Shlotha), Fasting (Thawāt), and Materialism (Yārtouthā):
2. Prayer (See: Prayer in Mirianism)
The Deeds of Mishyah
Yeshwa is recorded both in the Four NT Gospels and in Josephus to have done many miraculous works in the presence of those who followed him. These miracles included healing miracles (healing of skin disease, sickness, blindness, deafness, spirit possession, paralyses, and other physical disabilities), miracles over nature (calming the storm, walking on water, feeding of 5,000, feeding of 4,000, etc.), and raising the dead (Jairus's daughter, widow's son at Nain, and Lazarus). But are these works of miracles to be taken as signs of Yeshwa's great power and divinity? Are they to be interpreted as some kind of physical manifestation of his divine origin? There is no doubt about this. But what do they say about the Lord's compassion? In this sense, they say a lot about it. The gospels say that Yeshwa never did miracles openly (just to gain followers). He did them in secret so that the Kingdom of God maybe made manifest in those who trusted in him.
- Call of the Fishermen (Luke 5:1-11)
- The Syro-Phoenician Woman (Matt. 15:21-28)
As far as the Church is concerned, the incident between Yeshwa and the Syro-Phoenician Woman is one of the most controversial issues that scholars and the Church alike have dealt with. Many skeptics have used this passsage as a means of classifying Yeshwa as a racist, but is this really the case? Not according to the experts. We are drawing the conclusion from St. Matthew's account, and not St. Mark's. The reason for this is that, as Dr. Kenneth Bailey put it, "Matthew was one of the disciples... Perhaps he understood and recalled (or recorded) details that the others missed." Yeshwa's disciples are recorded in Matthew to have said, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." This indicates that they were responding in, as they saw appropriate, of how Jesus was acting towards the woman:
- Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him saying "Send her away for she crieth after us."
Read at face value, this does not only make Yeshwa a racist, but also a sexist. (In those days, as Bailey wrote, "no self-respecting Rabbi would talk to women.") However, it is likely that Yeshwa was acting on a profound level of teaching, not only with the woman, but also with His disciples. This was one of the rhetorical devices that Yeshwa used to convey a deeper message. John Ortberg, a pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, makes the same conclusion that Dr. Bailey made. If one knows the Gospels in their fullness, the acts of racism and sexism as viewed by the reader would be incoherent with what Yeshwa actually taught, namely "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:39), and "do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:31).
The denunciation (a public disproval of....) of the Scribes and Pharisees is dependent in part on Mark 12:38-39 and the Q Gospel found within Matthew (23:1-39) and Luke (11:37-52; 13:34-35). The Mirian Church makes a slight difference by interpreting the woes and hyperbolies in the Gospel of Harmony to fit into a more understandable speech, and leaves out certain influences peculiar to that of the Gospel of Matthew, which is seemingly addressed to the contemporary Church, as well as the Scribes and Pharisees.
A woe (wāi in Mirian Syriac) is an expression of grief concerning where a bad action might lead, an expression often found in prophetic and/or apocalyptic literature. In this case, Yeshwa addresses the actions of the Scribes and Pharisees like "shutting the kingdom of heaven in mens faces", "neglecting the most important matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness", and "cleaning the outside of the cup and dish, but leaving the insides unclean."
- "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!'" - Matt. 23:37-39 (NKJV).
As in Matthew, the Gospel of Harmony places Jesus' Lament Over Jerusalem after the Woes and Hyperbolies against the Scribes and Pharisees, indicating that Jesus is still concerned about the well being of his people even though they are stubborn to come to him in peace. Mirianism teaches that a time will eventually come when His people will be reconciled to Him and they will say "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!"
- The Triumphal Entry (Matt. 21:1-11)
- Cleansing of the Temple (Matt. 21:12-17)
Telling of Parables
Many Christians today see Yeshwa as only a couple of things, that is "Savior, Son of God, and the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world," but he was more than that which modern Western Christians think commonly about one of the most influential figures in history. He was an effective teacher for those around him at the time. He used parables to illuminate hard concepts, and to clarify the most important aspects of His message.
Acceptance of Fate on the Cross
- See also: Soteriology (Mirianism)
The Resurrection of Yeshwa is one of the most important aspects of Christian theology as a whole, and in Mirian theology in particular. It was the prelude to the General Resurrection that will happen sometime in the future, at the renewal of all things (the "cosmic transfiguration" will occur at the end of time). However, belief in the Resurrection should not be taken as a belief that makes the believer say "Jesus is raised, therefore there is life after death," or "Jesus is raised, therefore we shall go to heaven when we die." The real message is this: "Jesus is raised, so he is the Messiah, and therefore he is the world's true Lord; Jesus is raised, so God's new creation has begun - and we, his followers, have a job to do!"
As with St. John the Baptist, so with us; we must "prepare the way" for the Lord's renewal. The Age of Prolongation of the Providence of Restoration, also called the Messianic Age, started at the birth of the Mishyah. Yeshwa's death, resurrection, and accession anticipated the final Eighth Day of Creation, the renewal of all things. We still abide within the Seventh Day of Creation (from an earthly perspective, over 15 billion years of cosmic existence), and all creation still awaits the day of God's renewal. The Tree of Life (perfected humanity under the Law of Mishyah) will finally stand in place of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (humanity under the Old Law). The Old Law was by no means unnecessary, but it was for a different age.
The whole Christian story did not end at the cross, the resurrection or accession of Jesus, it had begun.
The Holy Apostolic Confession
The Holy Apostolic Confession (Mirian Syriac: ’Awdiy Šliyḥāy Qadiyš) is the affirmation of faith of the Mirian Church. It is grounded in refuge to God the Father, and His son, through the Holy Spirit. With that faith deep in the heart and mind of the worshiper, he/she practices his/her religious activities; these include šbuwqta’ (forgiveness of the debts of others), ṣluwta’ (prayer), ṭawat (fasting), zadaqah (alms), matiyhabnuw (charity), ’awrāh (evangelism), celebrating holidays and memorial days, and providing services to the underprivileged through peace activities. The statement, which includes all these aspects of what it means to be a follower of the Christ, is recited in every prayer time and gathering, and in every morning service on Sabbath days. For a full translation of the Confession, see here.
Mirian Scriptural Canon
The Mirian Church, currently, does not have a "closed canon". Rather, there are several text from the original biblical canon that are used for the time being. These include:
From the Old Testament
- Book of Joshua
- Book of Judges
- Book of Ruth
- 1-2 Samuel
- 1-2 Kings
- 1-2 Chronicles
- Book of Ezra
- Book of Nehemiah
- Book of Tobit
- Book of Judith
- Book of Esther
- 1 Maccabees
- 2 Maccabees
- Book of Isaiah
- Book of Jeremiah
- Book of Lamentations
- Book of Baruch
- Book of Ezekiel
- Book of Daniel
- Book of Hosea
- Book of Joel
- Book of Amos
- Book of Obadiah
- Book of Jonah
- Book of Micah
- Book of Nahum
- Book of Habakkuk
- Book of Zephaniah
- Book of Haggai
- Book of Zechariah
- Book of Malachi
From the New Testament
- Epistle to the Romans
- First Epistle to the Corinthians
- Second Epistle to the Corinthians
- Epistle to the Galatians
- Epistle to the Ephesians
- Epistle to the Philippians
- Epistle to the Colossians
- First Epistle to the Thessalonians
- Second Epistle to the Thessalonians
- Epistle to Philemon
- Pastoral Pauline Epsitles
Jewish Christian Epistles
From the Apostolic Fathers
- Mirian Gospel Harmony or Neo-Diatessaron
The future canon will contain all of the Old Testament Mosaic, Wisdom and Prophetic literature and most of the New Testament literature. The epistles of 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude are not included within the Mirian canon, as they are not relevant to the modern audience and/or do not conform to the status of canonicity. The Epistle of Jude, for example, is supposedly a pseudonymous work, quotes from apocryphal Old Testament texts (Jude 1:9 and 1:14-15), and is, therefore, not considered canonical in light of common biblical tradition.
While apocryphal texts such as the Apocryphon of James, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Gospel of Thomas are not usually considered canonical by common Church traditions, they shed light on much of what early Christians believed and disputed concerning Jesus and his message. These texts are used as sources for some of the content in the Mirian Gospel Harmony. The Mirian Gospel Harmony (’Evangeliown b-’Awyuwtā’), or the Neo-Diatessaron, is currently being written and will be treated as a "deuterocanonical" book, containing the bulk of the synoptic gospels, in addition to excerpts from the apocryphal books mentioned above.
The synoptic gospels and the Gospel of John are included to compliment the Gospel of Harmony, but are also quoted from in the latter for sake of common tradition. Since the Acts of the Apostles is included within the Mirian canon, the gospel of Luke is also kept within the canon in order to compliment it, as both were most probably written by the same author (Luke the Evangelist). The gospel of John is seen, in Mirian tradition, as more of a theological and explanatory text rather than as displaying the actual teachings and actions of the historical Jesus of Nazareth.
Mirian Views of the Torah
Mirianism teaches that the Law of Moses (’Owraha d-Mowše’ ) was not abandoned by Yešwa during his time but interpreted by Him in the Sermon on the Mount. However, both the Law and the Prophets were completely fulfilled by Him after His crucifixion and in 70 AD. Christians that go by a conservative interpretation of the Bible take Yešwa's words in Matthew 5:17, 18 to mean that the Mosaic Law (namely the 613 mitzvot given in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) was still in effect even after His death and resurrection. Mirianism teaches that the "commandments" Yeshwa is referring to in Matthew 5, verse 19 are the commandments that he uttered throughout the Sermon on the Mount.
Study of the Torah (’ōwrāyt’ā) is required before one can be fully certified to become a Malpān, a teacher in the Mirian School of Thought (see here). Mirians believe that the study of the Five Books of Moses is crucial to the study of God's providence for the Israelites leading up to Mašyaḥ, and to the study of Moses himself. It is believed that the laws placed in the Torah describe much of the internal, as well as external, struggles that Moses had to deal with throughout his lifetime. With the flaws of even Moses, God was still determined to use him (Ex. 2-3, 32:19, Num. 20:11, 12, Deut. 32:50, 51). Through Moses, God gave Torah that Israel would have to follow if they were to survive, and enter the Holy Land. The struggles encountered by Israel are believed to show the various hinderances to the Divine Providence of God that had been abundant back in the day. Mirian practitioners, however, do not read the Torah as a constitutional document.
After a contextual understanding of the Torah is established, the "trainee" must go through studies of the Levitical Law specifically and observe the transition of it to the Law of Mašyaḥ. The Mirian Church terms this the Judaical Law (’Owraha Yhudāy) since Yešwa‘ is descended from the tribe of Judah, and not the tribe of Levi, as Moses and Aaron were. The Judaical Law can also be referred to as The Royal Law which is first mentioned by Saint James, the brother of Yešwa‘, in his epistle (James 2:8).
- Gospel of Harmony
- Qurbānā (Eucharistic Divine Liturgy)
- Holy Apostolic Statement
- List of Saints in Mirianism
- Mirian Views of Jesus
- Prayer in Mirianism
- ↑ "Beatitudes." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 10 May 2009, 15:54 UTC. 12 May 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Beatitudes&oldid=289081279>.
- ↑ "Salt and Light." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 14 Apr 2009, 13:21 UTC. 12 May 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Salt_and_Light&oldid=283775448>.
- ↑ ibid.
- ↑ "Expounding of the Law." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 7 May 2009, 23:30 UTC. 12 May 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Expounding_of_the_Law&oldid=288572846>.
- ↑ Bailey 2008, p. 219
- ↑ Ortberg, John. “True Grit,” The Christian Century 120 (17): August 23, 2003, 21.
- ↑ 2008, pg. 56
- ↑ Ibid.
- Bailey, K.E. (2008). Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL.: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-2568-4.
- "Beatitudes." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 10 May 2009, 15:54 UTC. 12 May 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Beatitudes&oldid=289081279>.
- "Expounding of the Law." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 7 May 2009, 23:30 UTC. 12 May 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Expounding_of_the_Law&oldid=288572846>.
- Ortberg, John. “True Grit,” The Christian Century 120 (17): August 23, 2003, 21.
- "Salt and Light." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 14 Apr 2009, 13:21 UTC. 12 May 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Salt_and_Light&oldid=283775448>.