“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.”
Revelation 11:19 NIV
1 Corinthians 1:10, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” We seek to bring unity to everyone who has a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus!
There are many different ways to strengthen your faith by learning about the many historical aspects of the Christian religion. Prayer and worship are the most common ways to increase your faith in Christian religion, but when men and women come to Christ and learn together, it fundamentally changes the way they relate to everything in their world. Christianity and spirituality is the personal connection we have with our world at large and our commitment to live by the Word of God. It is the way in which we manifest our lives. Spiritual Bridge wants to provide our readers with a resource to live spiritually in Christ's name, regardless of what denomination they associate themselves with. We want to unite all Christians together under one God.
Historical Explorations of the Christian Faith
What’s really exciting is that Spiritual Bridge has expanded our website to include historical and philosophical explorations into the Christian faith. Now you are able to deepen your spiritual connection to Christ and Christianity by learning about the history of the Christian religion and all the different belief systems and spiritualities that existed at the time of Christ and directly after.
For example, did you know that there was just as much diversity at the birth of the Christian religion as there is now? Of course, we all know that the basis of Christianity began with Christ. However, different sects of the faith asked questions about his existence and purpose in this world. For example:
● Who exactly was Jesus Christ?
● Was Jesus the son of God?
● Did Jesus walk among us in human form?
● Is Jesus' resurrection a historical event?
● Were the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit separate entities, or all united within one trinity?
Delving into the mysteries that surround God and the Christian religion, and learning what other people believe is a great way to strengthen your own faith. Many different religious worshipers had various ideas about who Jesus was and what He was trying to teach us. Some thought He was a philosopher who had sophisticated insights into the concept of religion, community, and spirituality. Others believed that He was a vessel for a spark of the creative divinity which left Him after the crucifixion. Still others believed He was the Son of God Himself born to take away the sins of the world.
These are all questions that have been asked by various Christian religious sects throughout the ages. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Codex, we have a broader and deeper understanding of all the different ways individuals throughout the ages have seen our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For the Gnostics, whose gospels were discovered millennia after being written and were stored away in a cave, there was a belief that Jesus was a man who walked among us, yes, but the “Christ consciousness” was a spark of the creative power of the All-Father-God Himself. They believed that this Christ consciousness was not exclusive to Jesus but passed from one soul to another throughout the ages. Is that what happened? The New Testament makes no mention of any of this, but it does add depth to how we learn about our own faith. This concept seems very different than the modern Christian religion beliefs about the resurrection of Christ after His crucifixion.
This is why our site is perfect for individuals who are looking to deepen their relationship with God by learning about the history of the Christian religion. It is our intention to provide a detailed inquiry into the beginnings of Christianity, from the Old Testament's prophecies toward the coming of the Messiah, and through Christ's fulfillment of those prophesies with His death and resurrection. In order to deepen your understanding of the role Christ played and the cultural and political zeitgeist which formulated the backdrop of His ministry, we will delve into a variety of interesting topics such as the Nag Hammadi codices and the gospels of the Gnostics.
If you have not learned about this information before, Spiritual Bridge will walk you through it so that it is not overwhelming. As we research and define the history of the Christian faith, we will consider how the Gnostic vision of Christ was different from our own. Who were the Gnostics, and how did their beliefs differ from ours? Spiritual Bridge allows you to take a look at other cultures who view the same teachings we do - yet have a completely different understanding of what these teachings mean. By doing this, we allow ourselves to get a better sense of ourselves and why we believe what we believe.
There are still today many people who have very different ideas about Christ and how to interpret the Bible. By examining the Gnostics and their beliefs we will get a clearer image of how there could be so many varied interpretations of the same biblical books.
The Catholic religion arose out of this period of time. It was the religion which codified our Bible and set the canon for the Christian religion. How different would it have been if the Gnostic gospels had been included instead of Paul's epistles and the four synoptic Gospels? It’s a very interesting concept, especially for those who want to explore their Christian religion further by seeing the different images of Jesus through various perspectives. This can also clarify our beliefs and why we interpret Christ's teachings the way we do. It's important to be able to consider these different perspectives, and though we may not agree with them, we can still understand and respect them for what they are.
Applying Ancient Texts to Modern Times
Our ministry at Spiritual Bridge is really about seeing how biblical figures are still very much applicable today. There is a tendency for modern Christians to see the figures of the Bible as outdated. However, we know that many people featured in the Bible are no less relevant than they were 2,000 years ago. The fact that we still read and talk about them is evidence of this, but sometimes we lose sight of how their stories and missions can still have a great impact on our lives.
There are many examples of men and women who have walked in the path of the Christian prophets. Our site offers vital modern day examples of such individuals and will hopefully give you a fuller insight into your own role to play in God's plan.
It is important to our spiritual faith to not simply see these figures from biblical history as either characters in a book or remote shadows of a bygone era. Even as mankind advances and our culture and society continues to change, figures like Malachi and Paul have an important role to play in the world. It’s especially important now in the digital age, where information is exchanged much more quickly.
So what does it mean for us to understand different historical aspects of our faith? For example, why would we want to learn about a religion that considers the resurrection of Christ to be irrelevant because they believed Christ to be a separate entity from God? These are the sorts of philosophical and historical inquiries that we want to be able to have with this section of our website. Clearly, the resurrection is central to the Christian and Catholic religion. However, it is important for us as Christians to be able to educate ourselves. The answers to these questions provide us with a greater understanding of our faith and why we believe what we believe. Ultimately, it makes our faith stronger than ever!
Jesus understands that it is important for all people of the Christian and Catholic religion to see the work of the Lord in present day times. Too many of us think that the role that God plays is limited to Sunday at mass or in a church setting. We don't make the connection to our normal, everyday lives outside of these settings. In doing so, we deprive ourselves of strengthening our personal Christian religion and spirituality.
So, what is the difference between these two concepts? Religion educates us about our faith, and spirituality is how we apply our faith to our everyday lives. This is why it's important to see the ministry of the prophets in historical figures. We can see them as true examples of biblical teachings.
Spiritual Bridge publishes articles concerning marriage, family life, parenting, and articles for youth as well, so that you and your family can continue to grow in the Christian religion. Now we want to be able to delve into more of the historical side of the Christian religion. This is very beneficial because this can also teach us about our own place in the historical narrative of mankind's relationship with God. It also continues to show us how the death and resurrection of Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecy about God's new covenant with mankind, His children.
Historical inquiry is critical to understanding who we are as a people. All different kinds of religions, from paganism to Judaism and ultimately Christianity tell us much about ourselves and our ever deepening relationship to God. The historical articles from Spiritual Bridge will help your understanding of the Christian faith and Catholic religion, as well as open up your relationship to God and Christ in new ways. It will show you your place in the story of history among the Catholic religion saints and prophets as well.
The Positive Impacts of Historical Christianity
Our articles at Spiritual Bridge are not only informative about religious teachings and spiritual guidance, but they're also pragmatic guides to strengthen your bond with your family, those you love, and the world around you. It goes without saying that all of us face struggles that test our faith and our courage. The loss of a loved one, for instance, can be the kind of experience that either strengthens the bond we have with our family and God, or it can easily weaken it. Our site offers books, articles, testimonials, and stories of those who have struggled through great hardship, yet managed to allow it to deepen and not weaken their relationship to God, their family, and their community.
When it comes to learning from other Christians, we hope that their testimonies will be a beacon to you in your life during times of hardship and misfortune. It is important to remember that in those moments when our own devices have failed and we're left feeling as though there is nothing that we can do when God comes to us. It is because we recognize in these moments that we are no longer the ones who are in control. It is in these moments when our faith is tested, that asking God for strength is so important.
Moments such as these are often a crossroads in our lives. If bitterness and rage are allowed to win, our relationships with each other and God will suffer. Understanding that there are others out there who have faced the same struggles as you and come out with their love, faith, and hope intact, is one of the keys to facing similar struggles yourself. You need not suffer alone. That's why support groups are so important. When a group of like-minded individuals get together, they can all be a great source of strength to individuals dealing with demoralizing trials and tribulations which test their faith and their resolve.
That is why we provide important historical information about the Christian religion. It teaches real life stories of Christian spiritual practice, which is built on love, hope, and sacrifice for others. Too often we are tempted to numb our pain with our vices, but this will never alleviate the pain. It only stalls dealing with it directly. This can cause us even more harm. Our grief and pain can isolate us and weaken the bond we have with our family and God, but it can also bring us together and strengthen that same bond. It is how we relate to our hardship that defines us as people. Because we reap what we sow, it is so important to consciously choose to use such hardships as an opportunity to grow and connect.
Why tell of historical Christianity? The best wisdom is passed from generation to generation, and there is so much we can learn from the past. It is especially important to consider when we teach our children about Christianity. Children have all sorts of willful impulses and sometimes think they know better than their parents do, even though this is rarely the case. Spiritual Bridge wants to offer guidance to parents who may be having a tough time with a particularly stubborn child. We have articles that can help you compassionately guide your children toward God's teachings with love. It is a great gift that God sent his wisdom to us in the form of the prophets and Jesus.
God gave us the tools we needed to succeed when it comes to learning everything we need to know about raising our families in the name of Christ. It is very difficult for a person to break from the bad habits they learned in their youth, and it is a constant struggle to maintain their spiritual connection with God, His church, and their own family and loved ones. It can become very easy to stray away from the Lord. It is also why it's so important to start children off right when they are young. It is our responsibility to teach our children about the Catholic religion and the goodness and love of God. This is why we offer concise guides for the spiritual health of you and your children.
Teaching children biblical history and teaching them by your personal example is perhaps the most important key to understanding Jesus' ministry here on Earth. Our faith must be an ever present part of our lives. This is the key difference between spirituality and religion. Spirituality is the practice that we take with us into our everyday interactions with each other. Too often we disconnect our Christian religion from our work, our home life, and other parts of our life. We have one compartment for God, another for work or finances, and yet another for family and our children. These things are all gifts from God, and our spiritual faith can inform the choices we make in every aspect of our lives. Something as mundane as teaching your children to brush and floss their teeth can be a lesson in respecting God's gifts to them, while simultaneously giving them practical habits they need to ensure their future health.
Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Your family above all others is the most important group of people in your life. That is why it is one of the main focuses of Spiritual Bridge. It is the beginning of where our spiritual practice as Christians should begin. It is also where we see the most direct benefits. Christian spirituality is about taking the teachings of Christ and the Bible and turning them into habits that we bring forth with us into every aspect of our lives. Sure, Mass for those of the Catholic religion, and church functions are important, but they are only important to the extent that you bring these values into your community.
It is important that we take the time out of our often busy schedules to arrange family events and spend time with one another. These days, everyone spends their free time separately on the internet. We have never been more connected to each other than we are now, and at the same time, we have never been more separated either. That's why it's more important than ever to organize some time each day to enjoy one another's company and learn with each other. This develops the kind of bond that lasts for a lifetime because our children are our legacy.
Romans 15:4 states, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Children may not have the spiritual resources available to them that adults do. This is why it is so important that we make sure they have practical guidance for dealing with feelings of anger and loss, and even more important that we teach them the valuable stories in the Bible to help channel those feelings into something positive. Life is full of struggles, but with the proper understanding of what we can learn from the past, we can teach our children to become strong men and women in the Lord who have a deep connection with God.
Deuteronomy 4:9 says, “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.” One of the best ways of teaching your children is through the history of our Christian religion. We see the prophets, like Ezekiel and Isaiah, who have intense spiritual connections with God, and we can identify ourselves in their words, perhaps to a greater or lesser extent. They have become examples to us as moral beacons, guiding us to the Lord and away from the darkness. When we read about them, we learn what amazing stories each biblical character has! So it is not crazy to suggest that they are still very much a part of our lives or that their ministries have been carried on by those who put forth the effort.
Learning from the Prophet Ezekiel
Now, Ezekiel was a man with an immense talent to see images and visions sent by God. His works are filled with positive and vibrant imagery. Our own relationship to God's revelation might not be as kaleidoscopic or as vivid, but we can understand Ezekiel's intention and moral character. We can even identify with his circumstances when we learn more about him through the Bible.
Historically, Ezekiel was exiled from Jerusalem and his people disliked him greatly because he foretold the destruction of the Great Temple as well as the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem. It was important to understand why he believed this. God had a covenant with the Hebrews that was based on a strict adherence to the moral guidelines outlined in the Torah, and Ezekiel believed that the immorality of his people would cause God to abandon his covenant and allow Jerusalem to be sacked. Having the historical background into the life and times of prophet Ezekiel is necessary to understanding why his words are still so important. We must trust that God has our best interests in His heart even as we face the most difficult struggles life has to offer. Ezekiel certainly paid attention to historical events himself and was able to bring those teachings to his people.
Through the story of Ezekiel, we can learn more about God’s love of His people. Ezekiel 36:26 states, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” God reached out and showed compassion to Ezekiel, and this concept can still be applicable to our lives today.
Ezekiel 37:20-28 is a passage that shows God speaking directly to Ezekiel the prophet. “Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
“‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’”
Not only is this a historical event we can learn from, it is a story that we can gain encouragement from! God loves us and is always reaching out to us. He shows mercy and compassion to His children every day.
So understanding the history and historical background during which these works were composed helps us gain a clearer image of the author's intent. It also helps us identify the individual not as merely some obscure mystic, but rather as a person who lived through a difficult period and learned to contextualize it in terms of the divine. The prophet Ezekiel is an excellent example to us in the same way we can be examples to our children. It is through them that we can learn how to live spiritual lives ourselves.
Learning from the Book of Revelation
One of the most interesting and exciting books of the Bible is the Book of Revelation. It's also one of the most controversial books. Many of the modern denominations of the Christian religion, such as the Catholic religion, have very different ideas about how to interpret the book and what it means. Some sects of the faith believe that we should interpret the book literally, and others want us to see it as more of a metaphorical story. This is because of the highly abstract and symbolic language that Saint John used in the writing of the book. Either way, it is a fascinating example of how we can learn from historical Christianity.
The Book of Revelation is part of the apocalyptic tradition. Calypso is the Greek word for “hiding” or “hidden.” Apocalypse therefore means literally “from hiding” or in other words “revelation” or “revealing.” It means to bring something that was once unseen into the seen, but it also has another meaning too.
There are two books in the Bible which are considered Apocalypses. They include the Book of Revelation and the Book of Daniel. There are other apocalyptic texts but they were not chosen for inclusion in the Bible, and some of them are a part of the Nag Hammadi Codex. The apocalypses all have one thing in common: they are written in apocalyptic language. That means that the book on the surface may be confusing or obscure, but to those “in the know” it was a coded missive which informed a select group about what was happening around them. That's because the select group was the object of persecution during their time. It was therefore necessary to hide in plain sight. The book would be confusing to one group of people, but those who understood how to interpret the images and numerological references had a much more concrete understanding of what the book was trying to say.
The Book of Revelation was written during the reign of the Emperor Nero and Nero very much disliked the Christian religion and wanted all people of the faith to be killed. It would have been considered an affront to the Emperor to publish a book criticizing his rule and calling him evil. This is precisely why you write the book in a code which only a select few can understand.
In the Book of Revelation, it refers to the “number of the beast” who “is a man”. Many interpret this to mean Emperor Nero. Yet why do so many who read the Book of Revelation see it not as a historical narrative at all, but rather as a prediction of things to come?
One school of thought is that by using abstract language like you see in the Book of Revelation, you tap into recurring patterns which are themselves timeless truths about human society and the world. It is not a secret that Revelation is written from the perspective of a minority group within the larger spectrum of majority pagans. As such, people of the Christian religion were an oppressed underclass who made waves within the Roman Empire. Their ministry of hope and resurrection through Christ began to catch on and the Roman state began to see them as a threat. Executions of Christians became commonplace for failure to worship the Emperor as a God. This act was seen as a rebellion against the state itself, and as such Christians were considered outlaws, criminals, and undesirables.
It is because of this fact that so many people around the world have identified themselves in the powerful text of Revelation. It offers them hope that through God they can overcome the oppression of a government or social status that renders them as second class citizens. Thus the Book of Revelation becomes a timeless truth or perhaps a recurring nightmare rendered impotent by the promise of God's eternal love.
Some modern Christian sects strip the Book of Revelation of its historical foundation and see it purely as a prediction of things to come. They are continually trying to find “the beast” in modern political figures or institutions. They are continually interpreting signs and symbols to mean that the end of the world is near and the reign of the beast is at hand. Other Christian denominations take the book's words more literally. For instance, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that when Revelation states that 144,000 people will be saved at the end of times, the Bible literally means that exactly 144,000 people will be saved. They reject the idea that 144,000 people can also mean something like “numerous”, “millions”, or “a myriad” - in other words, what we believe is meant to mean “a very large number of people”, they believe is 144,000. This is a relatively small amount of people in the grand scheme of things. It’s important to see how different groups of people, including those of the Catholic religion, can get different meanings by viewing the same text. This is why having a basic historical background of a piece of text is so important to understanding the author's actual intent.
Faith and Knowledge Go Hand in Hand
The Bible emphasizes how important it is to grow your intellect as well as your faith. Proverbs 1:5 states, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance”. As people who should always be growing in our personal faiths, we should actively seek out wisdom because wisdom comes from God.
Proverbs 9:9 also says, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” Spiritual Bridge feels the responsibility for passing learning from one generation to the next. We want to be a resource and a guide to you and those who are closest to you! Because of this, we have a wide variety of articles that are meant to deepen your knowledge of the Christian religion. We also offer resources for those who have a great amount of knowledge, but find that they need more spiritual guidance in their lives.
Why? Specifically, an individual of the Catholic religion or other sector can have a vast amount of knowledge of the history of the Christian religion and the background of the key texts and their authors, and yet have no spiritual understanding on how to employ the teachings, or may be utterly indifferent to their application. Or a deeply spiritual person with a strong connection to God and Christ's teaching may wish to be more informed about the history of the Bible but does not know where to start. For this reason we wanted to provide our readers with as broad a resource as humanly possible. Spiritual Bridge believes that both are not only vital to our own personal beliefs, but go hand in hand with each other.
So what are the fundamental ways in which an individual can deepen their faith and their knowledge at the same time? The first way to deepen your connection with God is through Bible study. Spiritual Bridge looks into the historical and cultural backdrop of the religious texts, when they were written, who they were written by, and what they might be trying to say.
This is important for understanding how we should interpret these texts and what they mean for us in the real world. On top of that, we believe it's fun and informative as well. History is a rich topic that gives us a broader understanding of our place in the cosmos and the circle of life. It was a natural instinct for mankind to seek a connection with the other-worldly or a connection with deity or deities beyond his understanding. This is true even of “cavemen” or paleolithic peoples. We have found artifacts which indicate a spiritual connection with their idea of what God was or what the gods were. It is as if mankind has a natural instinct to connect with a creator. It is as if mankind has a natural intuition that a creator exists.
The Difference Between Worldly Knowledge and Biblical Wisdom
We also offer practical advice for living in accord with biblical teachings even when they may seem different than conventional wisdom. For example, many people may not understand why moral concepts such as humility are important to the Christian religion rather than pride. Well, this is because we have been taught that pride is a sought-after quality because it raises your self-esteem. However, true humility actually has no bearing on your own self-esteem. The Bible teaches us that having humility is an issue of self-respect and respect for others. Here are a few teachings from the Bible that support this:
● Philippians 2:3 states, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
● Proverbs 11:2 explains, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
● Romans 12:16 says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
While the world takes great value in pride, we actually learn that it is the opposite, humility, where we can grow and learn as Christians. We must humble ourselves in order to be receptive of the teachings of others and to what others may have much to teach us regardless of whether or not we necessarily agree.
Humility does not mean we let ourselves be changed by the opinions or beliefs of others. It merely means we should not scorn them for having different ideas. Jesus teaches us to forgive, not to judge, and this too requires humility. This is a moral imperative that we as Christians should aspire to, but it is also more pragmatically beneficial than pride, which disconnects us from people and invites their judgment upon us. It may cause others to reject us, even though we may be more knowledgeable about a given topic than they are. They will refuse to listen to you if you dismiss them or refuse to respect their perspective.
This is just one of the many examples as to why it is important to learn the difference between worldly knowledge and Biblical wisdom. Spiritual Bridge is available with many resources to guide you along the way.
Learning Historical Christianity with Spiritual Bridge
At Spiritual Bridge, we to provide our readership with the broadest possible spectrum of spiritual articles. This may take the form of spiritual advice concerning parenting, or marriage, or insights and meditations on the Word of God and passages in the Bible. It may also take the form of a historical inquiry into the foundation and beginning of Christianity and the Catholic religion, along with the authors of the Bible. Having access to that information will broaden and deepen your understanding of the Christian religion and why we believe the things they do. We will talk about both the moral and practical ramifications of our faith and how struggles faced by all individuals have both the power to make us stronger in our faith or corrupt us utterly.
Our articles are informative and interesting and we hope that you will find them to be spiritually enlightening as well. We're truly humbled with the work we've put together here at Spiritual Bridge. Our articles cover marriage, Christian parenting, family life, Christian and Catholic religious topics, Christian youth resources, Christian spiritual wellness, and even articles specifically geared toward Christian women. No matter who you are or where you are in life, we have resources for you.
Our Christian Religion section of the site that features various articles on the history of the Bible, the history of the Church, the life and times of Jesus Christ, and various other interesting topics such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Codex. We'll touch also on the Apocrypha, the Apocalyptic literary tradition, and the cultural and societal pressures that existed at the time to inspire their authors to write them. We'll talk about the authors as well and discuss how their lives were impacted by God and Christ and what message they wanted to share with the world and why it was so important for them to share that message.
Even though archaeologists and anthropologists may not share our beliefs on God or faith, such an inquiry into the historical and cultural aspects of Rome, Greece, and Israel, are very informative to us. They allow us key insights into the life and times of Jesus. Social scientific inquiry is not at odds with the Christian religion, but rather they should be considered complementary. We are always trying to answer the question “what does this mean for us as children of God?” Asking questions is a positive aspect of a healthy, saving faith in God. Spiritual Bridge wants to encourage this practice.
We hope this section of the site will deepen your understanding of Christian and Catholic religion. These articles serve to act as a guide to anyone who is interested in learning more about Christianity, whether you're interested in the spiritual teachings of Christ and how to employ them in your daily life, or you're looking to learn more about the history of the Christian religion. It is our personal promise that you will find something that you will find interesting, informative, or encouraging at Spiritual Bridge. Now join us!, as we continue to honor God in this way.