Jesus Christ is truly the only-begotten Son of God and the only mediator between God and men, as Paul said in 1 Tim.2:3-5. With this statement Paul denied that Moses was a mediator. Jesus Christ declares that he is the only one who can reveal who the Father is, in Matt.11:27. Jesus declares in this text that whoever wants to know the Father must come to him, Jesus. In John 14:5-10 Jesus repeats that, outside of him, no one can know the Father. If the Father had made himself known before Christ came into this world, he would have made the Son a liar.
As Jehovah manifested himself before Jesus came, the religious people of that time, believing in their god, did not believe in Jesus. The Pharisees knew the Old Testament; the Saducees and the Scribes, guided by the princes and priests of the temple, accused Jesus of being false and full of demons. Since the beginning, the establishing of the Church and the New Testament was opposed by the religious men of that time. Jesus’ countrymen called him Beelzebub (Matt.10:21-25). After the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord, the persecutions continued on the outside, but on the inside the Church was disturbed by adjustments and readjustments between the Christians and the very apostles. When the conversion of the Centurion Cornelius happened, and they were all gathered, the Christians of the circumcision and the apostles resisted Peter, since Cornelius and the others were not Jews, but Gentiles (Acts 11:1-18). The Christians of the sect of the Pharisees were trying to force the converted Gentiles to be circumcised and to follow Moses. The Bible says that there was a great dissension among Christians. But Peter and James, filled with the Holy Spirit, were able to calm them down and to liberate the Christianized Gentiles from the law and from circumcision (Act 15:1-29).
The apostles Paul and Peter did not agree on the ministry, at some time. Peter was sometimes with the Jews and sometimes with the Gentiles, so Paul resisted him face to face. We read about this in the letter to the Galatians 2:6-14. The disturbance was spreading. Valentim, a Christian who was born in Egypt, went to Rome in the year 140 AC, forty-five years after the death of the apostle John, and founded a sect that explained the origin of Creation in a very strange way. The Church excommunicated him. The cruelties and vindications of Jehovah led him to conclude that the loving supreme God could not have anything to do with Jehovah, but that this angry god was the demiurge of the Greeks, the creator of this dark world who manifested himself to the Hebrews as the almighty Jehovah, with the promise of an earthly and eternal kingdom, and a messiah that would rule over the nations with a rod of iron. Valentim had many admirable followers and his doctrine lasted for many centuries. He was born in the year 85, when many apostles were alive, and died in 160 AC.
Ptolemy, the most important of the Italian school of Valentim, wrote the “Letter to Flora” where he discusses the inspiration of the Mosaic Law, proving that it was not of divine inspiration alone, based in John 1:17, where John affirms that truth and grace are not in the law. Heraclites, another distinguished disciple of Valentim, initiated an approximation with the orthodox point of view. Irineu left us a description of his doctrine, since his original writings were destroyed. This doctrine appoints three classes of men: the material men, men of the left, who dies because of need; the psychic, designated of the right, between the spiritual and the material, who can incline to the matter or to the spiritual, which will be perfected by the psychic/spiritual.
Florin was another disciple of Valentim. According to certain information given by Irineu, he defended that God is responsible for the evils of this world.
Bardejanes, also of the school of Valentim, born in Edesa, converted in the year 216 AC. He wrote the book “Dialogues on Destiny”. He also wrote 150 hymns for the spreading of the doctrine.
Harmonio, son of Bardejanes, continued the work of his father. His hymns were sung until the Fifth Century.
Teodoto, from the oriental school of Valentim, discussed the following questions: “What were we? In whom have we been converted? What is generation? What is the regeneration?” Teodoto explains that men incline substantially towards union with the true and perfect God, but as he is exiled in an imperfect world that oppresses and imprisons him by evil forces (Eph.2:2-3), he is driven to evil. His favorite book was the Gospel of John. Everything we know about him, his doctrine and teachings, can be found in the writings of Clement of Alexandria. The Valentinians considered Jehovah as Cosmocrator, the creator of the corruptible matter and of this dark world, an abyss where demons live (Gen.1:1-2). To them, the good Father God dwells in the unapproachable light (1 Tim.6:16). Besides Valentim there were other Christians who stood out for not believing in Jehovah. Cerinto was a Jew converted to Christianity, in the apostolic times of the First Century. He preached his message in the times of the Roman Emperor Domitian, son of Vespasian, and brother of Titus, around the years 81 and 96. He was the first Jewish theologian to teach the distinction between the supreme God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the demiurge Jehovah, creator of the corruptible matter. He was a Christian of the sect of the Pharisees such as those of Acts 15 and those of the Galatia. The apostle John died in the year 95, when Cerinto was at the peak of his ministry, and when Titus, son of Vespasian, destroyed the temple in the year 70 AC.
The book “Apocryphal Gospels” tells the story of the emperor Titus who ruled from 79 to 81 AC, under the title “Vindication of the Savior,” saying that he had a cancer on his face. In the port of Libya he met an Ishmaelite named Nathan to whom he asked if he knew any medicine for the cure of cancer. Nathan told him of the miracles of Jesus and how he had healed Veronica of the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48). Titus believed and was instantly healed of his cancer. He asked Nathan to baptize him. Taught by Nathan and having understood the atrocities done against Christ by the religious men and the priests, he decided to avenge the Savior. He sent letters to Vespasian, his father, who reigned from 69 to 79 AC. Vespasian, heeding to his son, organized an army and they marched together against Jerusalem and totally destroyed the temple of the murderers of the Son of God. This story can be found in the book “Los Evangelhos Apocrifos”, of the B A C Press, pages 513 and 532, where surprising details of the destruction of the temple are registered.
Bibliography: “Grande Enciclopedia Portuguesa e Brasileira” and www.iponet.ebs/casinada.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira