The Council of Niacea vs. The Jerusalem Council
While it is commendable that we, as believers look to our roots, as well as to those who have come before us regarding certain traditions and practices of our faith - we must always be careful that these traditions and practices are not contrary to Biblical teaching, or in violation of Scripture. Such traditions and practices would include the Sabbath and the Feasts - of which over the years have been unfortunately resigned by many believers to the interpretations of men rather than Biblical understanding. In other words, they have been changed by the order of men (and some cases outrightly done away with), rather than upheld and observed by the commandment of G-D. Therefore, even the roots that many believers stand by in regards to the Sabbath and the Feasts have no semblance to the Biblical instructions of our early Messianic Jewish fathers, but rather to consensual understanding of other "fathers" who decidedly removed themselves from their Messianic Jewish roots, as well as separated themselves (and by extension others), from Israel, and the Jewish people as a whole. This specifically occurred at the Council of Nicaea, which is considered one of the most anti-Semitic councils ever convened.
The Council of Nicaea
Today, the common understanding regarding the Council of Nicaea is that it was convened in 325 AD by the order of the Roman emperor Caesar Flavius Constantine in order to define the nature of G-D for all of Christianity. According to most Christian scholars, it was also done to affirm the deity and eternality of Jesus Christ, and the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, otherwise known as the "Trinity." The Council of Nicaea was also considered the "birth" of the Catholic (Universal) Church, which was intended to bring "all Christians" together in unity, with the "Holy See" as the head, the Pontifex Maximus as its overseer, and Vicar of Christ, and the Holy Catholic Church as the final authority of Heaven on earth. The Catholic Church even went as far to name the Apostle Peter as its first "Pope" - then apparently establishing the apostolic order, to include Constantine - "Constantine in convoking and presiding over the council signaled a measure of imperial control over the Church" - First Council of Nicaea 325 AD.
Constantine had invited all 1800 bishops of the Catholic Church to attend the Council of Nicaea. However, any Messianic Jewish leader was excluded.
While many Christians don't actually consider themselves Catholic, the majority of Christians continue to defend the Council of Nicaea, its affirmations and its creeds as a confession of their Christian faith.
However, there was also another, a more intentional purpose for convening the Council of Nicaea. Unfortunately, this purpose is either not known by the majority of Christians or is simply ignored - the Council's separation and rejection of the Jewish roots of the faith as well as the replacement and rejection of Israel and the Jewish people, in favor of "another way," according to newly formed Catholic doctrines and creeds.
It has long baffled me that while many Christians (non-Catholic), reject the majority of Catholic doctrines, and even go as far as to denounce Catholicism as a false religion (because of their veneration of the Virgin Mary and saints, as well as the doctrine of Transubstantiation), they have no problem embracing Catholic doctrines and creeds, such as the Nicene Creed and the Apostle's Creed, both of which confess belief in "One Holy Catholic Church." Sadly, these "Creeds" are in many cases considered equal with Scripture, and are defended as such. In case you don't know what Transubstantiation is, it is the belief that the communion wafer, and the wine are turned into the actual flesh and blood of Messiah, which is then offered as a "sacrifice" by a reverent father (priest).
The majority of mainline denominations, which include Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Episcopalians and even some Baptists, include this confession among their creeds of faith. Unfortunately, these creeds did not originate as a means to remain faithful to Scripture, but instead originated as means to separate and remain separated with the "detestable" Jews - "Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Savior a different way" - Council of Nicaea, Constantine to the Churches 325 AD.
Yet, even more unfortunate, it that many believers today rely on the decision of the Nicene Council to defend the changes and the observance of (as well as the abolition of the Seventh Day Sabbath and the Biblical Feasts) non-Biblical feasts, such as the Sunday Sabbath, Christmas and Easter.
The Catholic Church has always understood that the decision of the Nicene Council was done solely on the authority of the Catholic Church, and not the Bible:
"It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church." Priest Brady, in an address, reported in the Elizabeth, NJ ‘News’ on March 18, 1903.
Unbeknownst however, to many believers is that the affirmation of the Nicene Council may have indeed fostered the anti-Semitism that resided within the majority of the early "Church Fathers," which has been carried on even until today. The early "Church Fathers" continued to foster what was first initiated at Nicaea in their writings as well convey it in their teachings. John Chrysostom wrote in response to Christians observing the Jewish festivals that, "The duty of all Christians is to hate the Jew." Undoubtedly, he shared his sentiments with another "Church Father," who wrote, "The true image of the Hebrew is Judas Iscariot, who sells the Lord for silver. The Jew can never understand the Scriptures and forever will bear the guilt for the death of Jesus" - St. Augustine.
This is why one must be very careful of who they call "father(s)" - as it is written, "And call no man on earth your father; for One is your Father, who is in heaven" - Mt 23:9.
Even the most celebrated Christian Martin Luther did not exempt himself regarding his feelings towards the Jews, when he wrote - "First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians" - On The Jews and Their Lies, Martin Luther 1543.
Contrarily, the Bible has something much different to say regarding how Adonai's people should feel about the Jewish people - "For I am not ashamed of the Good News, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who trusts—to the Jew first and also to the Greek" - Rom 1:16.
The decision of the Council of Nicaea had truly fostered much of the anti-Semitism that exists within Christianity today. Not only did the Nicene Council affirm certain doctrines, but they also affirmed that the Jewish people were the murderers of Christ. It was for this reason that Christians should have nothing to do with the Jewish people, despite that the fact that the first believers in Messiah, were almost all exclusively Jewish:
"And first of all, it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul" - Constantine to the Churches (Nicene Council, 325 AD).
"Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Savior a different way. A course at once legitimate and honorable lies open to our most holy religion. Beloved brethren, let us with one consent adopt this course, and withdraw ourselves from all participation in their baseness. For their boast is absurd indeed, that it is not in our power without instruction from them to observe these things" - Constantine to the Churches (Nicene Council, 325 AD).
Did you know that Messiah Himself observed the Seventh Day Sabbath? He even declared Himself "Lord of the Sabbath" (Mt 12:8). Messiah also observed the Feasts, to include Passover, and taught His disciples that Passover specifically pointed to Him (Lk 22:19-21). His Apostles and disciples continued to observe not only the Seventh Day Sabbath, but also the Feasts, to include the Jewish Passover, because it pointed to the Messiah and His Resurrection (I Cor 11:24-26). Rav Shaul went on to teach that all of the Feasts as well as the Seventh Day were shadows of Messiah, and the Messiah Himself was the substance. He also encouraged Messiah's believers not to concern themselves with those who would judge them for observing these days (Col 2:16-17). It's a tragedy that many Gentile believers have no idea about the Feasts and Shabbat, and how they point to Messiah.
Interestingly, the Council of Nicaea was one of many councils that gathered in order to establish doctrine, as well as reject the Jewishness of Messiah, the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, and to condemn the Jewish people. These include, the Council Elvira (306 AD), the Council of Nicaea (325), the Council of Antioch (341 AD) and the Council of Laodicea (434 AD). It was these councils that went on to establish Canon Law, which forbade intermarriage between Jews and Christians, the observance of the Seventh Day Sabbath, Passover, and all other "Jewish" Feasts.
One of the many tragic events that resulted from these councils took place in 1215, after the Fourth