John Chrysostom, Homily I, Theatrical Worship of Satan"If any admirable musician come amongst them, they leave all that they had in hand, which often is necessary and pressing business, and mount the steps (in the arena), and sit listening very attentively to the words and the accompaniments, and criticising the agreement of the two. This is what the many do." Clapping of hands is approval or contempt for theatrical or musical performers: it is never an act of worship. b. AD 347, Antioch, Syria
d. Sept. 14, 407, Comana, Helenopontus;
Western feast day September 13; Eastern feast day November 13Criticism, and not admiration, is the first response to drama, music, dance or slick sermons. Sermons are fantastic or dull even if we don't understand a word. We demand performance as worship and put the Words of Christ in last place.
John Chrysostom observes that even a snake understands what is important to its life:
"Be shrewd [clever] as serpents and simple as doves." Mt. 10:16 -- Homily by John Chrysostom (347--407AD), Bishop of Constantinople
"What cleverness is the Lord requiring here? The cleverness of a snake. A snake will surrender everything and will put up no great resistance even if its body is being cut into pieces, provided it can save its head.
So you, the Lord is saying, must surrender everything but your faith: money, body, even life itself. For faith is the head and the root; keep that, and though you lose all else, you will get it back in abundance. The Lord therefore counseled the disciples to be not simply clever or innocent; rather he joined the two qualities so that they become a genuine virtue.
He insisted on the cleverness of the snake so that deadly wounds might be avoided, and he insisted on the innocence of the dove so that revenge might not be taken on those who injure or lay traps for you."
In his first homily on John, published in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series I, Vol. XIV Chrysostom confesses that music, drama and skilled rhetoric causes people to, and we paraphrase, "travel to and fro" looking for entertainment while allowing the head or mind to die. Christ was back at home all along to help us survive and truly reach into "heavenly places" through our mind.
While Christian spectacles are not immoral in the true sense, they may be immoral in the spiritual sense. In Scripture anything which replaces honoring God by honoring His Word is identified as spiritual adultery. To travel from coast to coast just to hear someone speak out of their own mind while leaving their flocks are looking for something lacking in a void ministry.
Make no doubt about it -- performers are engaged in "the idolatry of talent" -- people are there to judge your "performance" to see how it stacks up against last year's "fly paper."
"Poets also make use of this in inventing words, as a melody "without strings" or, "without the lyre"; for they employ epithets from negations, a course which is approved in proportional metaphors..
The form of diction should be neither metrical nor without rhythm.<>If it is metrical, it lacks persuasiveness, for it appears artificial,
and at the same time it distracts the hearer's attention,since it sets him on the watch for the recurrence of such and such a cadence..
> The Bible is NOT written in METRICAL FORM in OUR sense. Rather, the form is that of vocal accents which was for emphasing words and, like Greek "singing," used the normal inflection of the human voice.
DICKINSON "While the Greek and Roman songs were metrical,<>the Christian psalms were anitphons, prayers, responses, etc., were unmetrical;"All the music employed in their early services was vocal, and the rhythmic element and all gesticulation were forbidden" (Frank L. Humphreys, The Evolution of Church Music, p. 42).
and while the pagan melodies were always sung to an instrumental accompaniment, the church chant was exclusively vocal" (Edward Dickinson, History of Music, p. 54)
"The chant of ancient Hebrews was rhythmical, but probably free of fixed meter. Perhaps the only exceptions were the dancing songs of women, usually accompanied by percussion instruments." (Interpreters Dictionary of
the Bible, p. 466).
[1.] They that are spectators of the heathen games, when they have learned that a distinguished athlete and winner of crowns is come from any quarter, run all together to view his wrestling, and all his skill and strength; and you may see the whole theater of many ten thousands, all there straining their eyes both of body and mind, that nothing of what is done may escape them.
So again these same persons,if any admirable musician come amongst them,"And if in the case of rhetoricians, musicians, and athletes, people sit in the one case to look on, i
leave all that they had in hand, which often is necessary and pressing business,
and mount the steps (in the arena), and sit listening very attentively to the words and the accompaniments,
and criticising the agreement of the two.
This is what the many do.
"Again; those who are skilled in rhetoric do just the same with respect to the sophists,
for they too have their theaters, and their audience, and clappings of hands, and noise, and closest criticism of what is said.
n the other to see at once and to listen with such earnest attention;
what zeal, what earnestness ought ye in reason to display,
when it is no musician or debater who now comes forward to a trial of skill,
(2) For the son of thunder, the beloved of Christ, the pillar of the Churches throughout the world, who holds the keys of heaven, who drank the cup of Christ, and was baptized with His baptism, who lay upon his Master's bosom with much confidence,
this man comes forward to us now; not as an actor of a play, not hiding his head with a mask, (for he hath another sort of words to speak,) nor mounting a platform,
nor striking the stage with his foot, nor dressed out with apparel of gold, but he enters wearing a robe of inconceivable beauty.For he will appear before us having "put on Christ" (Rom. xiii. 14; Gal. iii.27)
having his beautiful "feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace" (Eph. vi. 15); wearing a girdle not about his waist, but about his loins,not made of scarlet leather nor daubed outside with gold,
but woven and composed of truth itself.
- She said, and from her quiver chose with speed
- The winged shaft, predestin'd for the deed;
- Then to the stubborn yew her strength applied,
- Till the far distant horns approach'd on either side.
- The bowstring touch'd her breast, so strong she drew;
- Whizzing in air the fatal arrow flew.
- At once the twanging bow and sounding dart
- The traitor heard, and felt the point within his heart.
- Him, beating with his heels in pangs of death,
- His flying friends to foreign fields bequeath.
- The conqu'ring damsel, with expanded wings,
- The welcome message to her mistress brings
Now will he appear before us,
not acting a part, (for with him there is nothing counterfeit, nor fiction, nor fable,) but with unmasked head he proclaims to us the truth unmasked (Note: without hypocrisy);not making the audience believe him other than he is by carriage, by look, by voice,
needing for the delivery of his message no instruments of music, as harp, lyre, or any other the like,
for he effects all with his tongue, uttering a voice which is sweeter and more profitable than that of any harper or any music.
All heaven is his stage his theater, the habitable world; his audience, all angels; and of men as many as are angels already, or desire to become so,
for none but these can hear that harmony aright,
........ and show it forth by their works;
"all the rest, like little children who hear,but what they hear understand not,
from their anxiety about sweetmeats and childish playthings;
so they too, being in mirth and luxury, and living only for wealth and power and sensuality,
hear sometimes what is said, it is true,
but show forth nothing great or noble in their actions through fastening themselves for good to the clay of the brickmaking.
But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, Matthew 11:16
Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying,
Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord. Ezekiel 33:30
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? Matthew 13:10
I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Psalm 78:2
By this Apostle stand the powers from above, marveling at the beauty of his soul, and his understanding, and the bloom of that virtue by which he drew unto him Christ Himself, and obtained the grace of the Spirit.
For he hath made ready his soul, as some well-fashioned and jeweled lyre with strings of gold,
........ and yielded it for the utterance of something great and sublime to the Spirit.
the Holy Spirit I mean, that striketh this lyre, let us hearken accordingly. For he will say nothing to us as a man,
but what he saith, he will say from the depths of the Spirit, from those secret things which before they came to pass the very Angels knew not; since they too have learned by the voice of John with us, and by us, the things which we know.
And this hath another Apostle declared, saying, "To the intent that unto the principalities and powers might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God." (Eph. iii. 10.) If then principalities, and powers, and Cherubim, and Seraphim, learned these things by the Church,
it is very clear that they were exceedingly earnest in listening to this teaching; and even in this we have been not a little honored, that the Angels learned things which before they knew not with us; I do not at present speak of their learning by us also.Let us then show much silence and orderly behavior; not to-day only,
nor during the day on which we are hearers,
but during all our life, since it is at all times good to hear Him.
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30
For if we long to know what is going on in the palace, what, for instance, the king has said, what he has done, what counsel he is taking concerning his subjects, though in truth these things are for the most part nothing to us;much more is it desirable to hear what God hath said, especially when all concerns us. And all this will this man tell us exactly, as being a friend of the King Himself, or rather, as having Him speaking within himself, and from Him hearing all things which He heareth from the Father.
"I have called you friends," He saith, "for all things that I have heard of My Father,
I have made known unto you." (John xv. 15.)
God is ONE within Himself even as we are ONE within ourselves. Our THOUGHTS are father of the action put into WORDS or sons and sent forth to accomplish out will.
God as Full Deity
The Test of a Son of God.
[4.] As then we should all run together if we saw one from above bend down"on a sudden from the height of heaven, promising to describe exactly all things there, even so let us be disposed now.
It is from thence that this Man speaketh to us;
He is not of this world, as Christ Himself declareth, "Ye are not of the world" (John xv. 19), and
He hath speaking within him the Comforter, the Omnipresent,
........who knoweth the things of God
........ ........ as exactly as the soul of man knoweth what belongs to herself,
the Spirit of holiness, the righteous Spirit, the guiding Spirit, which leads men by the hand to heaven,
which gives them other eyes,
fitting them to see things to come as though present, and giving them even in the flesh to look into things heavenly.
Look again at Matthew 13:13
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. Matthew 13:13
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: Matthew 13:14
The "clear conscience" is offered only by request at the time and place of baptism:
Suneidesis ((g4893) soon-i'-day-sis; from a prol. form of 4894; co-perception, i.e. moral consciousness; - conscience.
Of the Mandaeands Sabians Iraq Christians:
To Him then let us yield ourselves during all our life in much tranquillity. Let none dull, none sleepy, none sordid, enter here and tarry; but let us remove ourselves to heaven, for there He speaketh these things to those who are citizens there. And if we tarry on earth, we shall gain nothing great from thence.And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. Acts 18:5But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter (body); whose praise is not of men, but of God. Romans 2:29
For we are the circumcision, whichThose who "run ahead" and gain the platform as the "holy place" in church architecture, for performance preaching or music may entertain the carnal senses to, as has always been claimed in paganism, "reach a climax with God" but they will NOT "LEAD THE WORSHIPERS INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD." Rather, God will sit them down firmly:
- worship God in the spirit,
- and rejoice in Christ Jesus,
- and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3
But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee,
Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. Lu.14:10
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. Jn.4:23
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. Jn.4:24
"In Jerusalem" is a place, not an attitude. Therefore, "in spirit" means that we have been invited into heavenly places which is the only place we can hear the Word of God.
For the words of John are nothing to those who do not desire to be freed from this swinish life, just as the things of this world to him are nothing.
The thunder amazes our souls, having sound without significance, but this man's voice troubles none of the faithful, yea, rather releases them from trouble and confusion; it amazes the devils only, and those who are their slaves. [In Clouds, the vapors which vanish are ridiculed as the musical agents of the gods.]
Therefore that we may know how it amazes them, let us preserve deep silence, both external and mental, but especially the latter;
for what advantage is it that the mouth be hushed,
if the soul is disturbed and full of tossing?
Jesus removed the burden of the Doctors of the Law creating "spiritual anxiety by religious ceremonial."
I look for that calm which is of the mind, of the soul, since it is the hearing of the soul which I require.Now, Jesus could have said: "Pray in public without being a hypocrite" but that is an oxymoron.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Mt.6:5
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door,
pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Mt. 6:6
Let then no desire of riches trouble us, no lust of glory, no tyranny of anger, nor the crowd of other passions besides these;
for it is not possible for the ear, except it be cleansed, to perceive as it ought the sublimity of the things spoken; nor rightly to understand the awful and unutterable nature of these mysteries, and all other virtue which is in these divine oracles.If a man cannot learn well a melody on pipe or harp, unless he in every way strain his attention;
how shall one, who sits as a listener to sounds mystical, be able to hear with a careless soul?
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. John 4:23
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24
IF ye then be risen with Christ, seek (g2212) those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Col.3:1
Set your affection on things above,
not on things on the earth. Col 3:2
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Col 3:3
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Col 3:13
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Col 3:14
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Col 3:15
Let the word of Christ (spirit Eph 5:18; John 6:63) dwell (inhabit) in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Col 3:16 [In the Greek OT all of these are forms of Biblical Psalms]
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name (authority) of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Col 3:17
[5.] Wherefore Christ Himself exhorted, saying,
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine." (Matt. vii. 6.)
He called these words "pearls," though in truth they be much more precious than they, because we have no substance more precious than that.
The Pearl-Seven Hymns on The Faith
1. On a certain day a pearl did I take up, my brethren; I saw in it mysteries pertaining to the Kingdom; semblances and types of the Majesty; it became a fountain, and I drank out of it mysteries of the Son.
2. It was greater to me than the ark, for I was astonied thereat: I saw therein folds without shadow to them because it was a daughter of light,
4. "Searching is mingled with thanksgiving, and whether of the two will prevail?
For this reason too He is wont often to compare their sweetness to honey, not that so much only is the measure of their sweetness, but because amongst us there is nothing sweeter. Now, to show that they very exceedingly surpass the nature of precious stones, and the sweetness of any honey, hear the prophet speaking concerning them, and declaring this superiority;
"More to be desired are they," he saith "than gold and much precious stone; sweeter are they also than honey and the honeycomb." (Ps. xix. 10.)
But to those (only) who are in health; wherefore he has added, "For thy servant keepeth them." And again in another place calling them sweet he has added, "to my throat."
For he saith, "How sweet are thy words unto my throat." (Ps. cxix. 103.) And again he insisteth on the superiority, saying, "Above honey and the honeycomb to my mouth." For he was in very sound health. And let not us either come nigh to these while we are sick, but when we have healed our soul, so receive the food that is offered us.
Instead of eating literal flesh and drinking literal blood (which would make us a cannibal), Jesus told us to "eat" his Words and Drink the Water of the Word:
> What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? John 6:62
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. John 6:64
> For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,and have tasted of the heavenly gift,
........and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, Heb 6:4
And have tasted the good word of God,
........and the powers of the world to come, Heb 6:5
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Heb 6:6For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: Heb 6:7
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. Heb 6:8
But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. Heb 6:9
It is for this reason that, after so long a preface, I have not yet attempted to fathom these expressions (of St. John),
in order that every one having laid aside all manner of infirmity,
as though he were entering into heaven itself, so may enter here pure,
and freed from wrath and carefulness and anxiety of this life, of all other passions.
For it is not otherwise possible for a man to gain from hence anything great, except he have first so cleansed anew his soul.
Music works because it produces spiritual anxiety!
Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28
This burden which Christ removed is:
Phortizo (g5412) for-tid'-zo; from 5414; to load up (prop. as aa vessel or animal), i.e. (fig.) to overburden with ceremony (or spiritual anxiety): - lade, be heavy laden.
The burden under the law was:
Massa (h4853) mas-saw'; from 5375; a burden; spec. tribute, or (abstr.) porterage; fig. an utterance, chiefly a doom, espec. singing; mental, desire: - burden, carry away, prophecy, * they set, song, tribute.
And let no one say that the time to the coming communion is short, for it is possible, not only in five days, but in one moment, to change the whole course of life.
Tell me what is worse than a robber and a murderer, is not this the extremest kind of wickedness? Yet such an one arrived straight at the summit of excellence, and passed into Paradise itself, not needing days, nor half a day, but one little moment.
So that a man may change suddenly, and become gold instead of clay. For since what belongs to virtue and to vice is not by nature, the change is easy, as being independent of any necessity. "If ye be willing and obedient," He saith, "ye shall eat the good of the land." (Isa. i. 19.) Seest thou that there needs the will only? will-not the common wishing of the multitude-but earnest will.
For I know that all are wishing to fly up to heaven even now; but it is necessary to show forth the wish by works.
The merchant too wishes to get rich; but he doth not allow his wish to stop with the thought of it; no, he fits out a ship, and gets together sailors, and engages a pilot, and furnishes the vessel with all other stores, and borrows money, and crosses the sea, and goes away into a strange land, and endures many dangers, and all the rest which they know who sail the sea.
So too must we show our will; for we also sail a voyage, not from land to land, but from earth to heaven.
Let us then so order our reason, that it be serviceable to steer our upward course, and our sailors that they be obedient to it, and let our vessel be stout, that it be not swamped amidst the reverses and despondencies of this life,
nor be lifted up by the blasts of vainglory, but be a fast and easy vessel. If So we order our ship, and so our pilot and our crew, we shall sail with a fair wind, and we shall draw down to ourselves the Son of God, the true Pilot,
who will not leave our bark to be engulfed, but, though ten thousand winds may blow, will rebuke the winds and the sea, and instead of raging waves, make a great calm.
[6.] Having therefore ordered yourselves, so come to our next assembly, if at least it be at all an object of desire to you to hear somewhat to your advantage, and lay up what is said in your souls.
But let not one of you be the "wayside," none the "stony ground," none the "full of thorns." (Matt. xiii. 4, Matt. xiii. 5, Matt. xiii. 7.) Let us make ourselves fallow lands. For so shall we (the preachers) put in the seed with gladness, when we see the land clean,but if stony or rough, pardon us if we like not to labor in vain.
For if we shall leave off sowing and begin to cut up thorns, surely to cast seed into ground unwrought were extreme folly.
It is not meet that he who has the advantage of such hearing be partaker of the table of devils.
"For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?" (2 Cor. vi. 14.)
Thou standest listening to John, and learning the things of the Spirit by him;
and dost thou after this depart to listen to harlots speaking vile things,
and acting viler, and to effeminates cuffing one another? How wilt thou be able to be fairly cleansed, if thou wallowest in such mire? Why need I reckon in detail all the indecency that is there?
Clapping of hands and wallowing in vomit come from the same word:
Caphaq (h5606) saw-fak'; or saphaq (1 Kings 20:10; Job 27:23; Isa. 2:6), saw-fak'; a prim. root; to clap the hands (in token of compact, derision, grief, indignation or punishment); by impl. of satisfaction, to be enough; by impl. of excess, to vomit: - clap, smite, strike, suffice, wallow
Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place. Jb.27:23
For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God. Jb.34:37
Make her drunk, for she has defied the LORD. Let Moab wallow in her vomit; let her be an object of ridicule. Jeremiah 48:26
So my heart laments for Moab like a flute; it laments like a flute for the men of Kir Hareseth. The wealth they acquired is gone. Je.48:36
All there is laughter, all is shame, all disgrace, revilings and mockings, all abandonment, all destruction, See, I forewarn and charge you all.
Let none of those who enjoy the blessings of this table destroy his own soul by those pernicious spectacles.
All that is said and done there is a pageant of Satan.
But ye who have been initiated know what manner of covenants ye made with us, or rather ye made with Christ when He guided you into His mysteries, what ye spoke to Him, what speech ye had with Him
concerning Satan's pageant;
how with Satan and his angels ye renounced this also, and promised that you would not so much as cast a glance that way.
There is then no slight ground for fear, lest, by becoming careless of such promises, one should render himself unworthy of these mysteries.
[7.] Seest thou not how in king's palaces it is not those who have offended, but those who have been honorably distinguished, that are called to share especial favor, and are numbered among the king's friends.
A messenger has come to us from heaven, sent by God Himself, to speak with us on certain necessary matters,
and you leave hearing His will, and the message He sends to you,
and sit listening to stage-players.
What thunderings, what bolts from heaven, does not this conduct deserve!
For as it is not meet to partake of the table of devils, so neither is it of the listening to devils;
nor to be present with filthy raiment at that glorious Table, loaded with so many good things, which God Himself hath provided.Such is its power, that it can raise us at once to heaven, if only we approach it with a sober mind.
For it is not possible that he who is continually under the influence of the words of God, can remain in this present low condition,
but he needs must presently take wing, and fly away to the land which is above, and light on the infinite treasures of good things; which may it be that we all attain to,
through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom and with whom be glory to the Father and the All-holy Spirit, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
(Note: Trying to have God land on the worship dance team, or use the performing arts to move the worshippers into the presence of God will just insult God. However, because "He is not far from all of us" we can easily move into the heavenly (spiritual) realm by hearing and obeying his will. This is done "in spirit" or in our mind while Satan and his demon crew will do anything in their power to say "look at me and see Jesus."
It is a fact that attempting to move the audience up or to move God down through the use of human hands is ceremonial legalism. Nothing dismisses God's grace faster than attempting to move into the spirit realm by the actions of the body. Hearing and obeying the Will of Lord Jesus Christ is our avenue to His Grace.
Homily 1 - 2
Edited by Kenneth Sublett