Day Thirty-two: St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures: Lecture XXI

Who: Bishop of Jerusalem and Doctor of the Church, born about 315; died probably 18 March, 386. Little is known of his life, except from his younger contemporaries, Epiphanius, Jerome, and Rufinus, as well as from the fifth-century historians, Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret.

What: Each of the lectures deal with a different topic to teach converts the mysteries of the Church, particularly: rites of the renunciation of Satan and his works, of anointing with oil, of baptism, of anointing with the holy chrism, and of partaking of the body and blood of Christ.

Why: Cyril delivered to new converts five lectures "On the Mysteries," in which he explains the rites by which they have been admitted to fellowship in the church, after they had been baptised.

Advertisement

When: Around 348-350 AD

You can find today’s reading on page 156 here: lentfatherscomplete.pdf

 

Today's lecture on the mysteries by Cyril, is on “chrism” and is an exposition based on 1 John 2:20-28

1 John 2:20,28
But you have been anointed by the Holy One … that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.

This was a new one to me today, I've never come across the word chrism before. From the passage of Scripture this lecture is based on, I guessed it was something to do with anointing and on looking it up I found that it's actually a type of oil used in baptism: “a mixture of oil of olives and balsam”. Roman Catholics still use it today too for anointing the sick and in baptism.

What Cyril describes in this lecture is the practice of anointing the recently baptised with this special oil as a sign of the Holy Spirit's sealing upon them, since they have “put on Christ” (Gal 3:27) and are adopted as sons (Eph 1:5) and are now partakers of Christ also (Heb 3:14).

Because Jesus “was in reality crucified, and buried, and raised” and they, in baptism, also were partakers in this figuratively, likewise when Jesus was baptised and then anointed by the Holy Spirit, so these now also partake in Christ by being anointed by the oil as the Holy Spirit on them (Isa. 61:1; Acts 10:38).

Advertisement

“But beware of supposing this to be plain ointment”, he says, since after it is prayed over, “this holy ointment is no more simple ointment” –  much like the bread of the Eucharist no longer stays as just bread after similar prayers, he says.

Your body is anointed with the visible ointment, your soul is sanctified by the Holy and life-giving Spirit

Here, Cyril gives us a very interesting insight into how the early church anointed new believers:

“And you were first anointed on the forehead...” this was to symbolise the removing the shame of the first man, so that we “with unveiled faces” can be “transformed into the same image” of the Lord (2 Cor 3:18).

“Then on your ears…” – this was to symbolise the opening of the ears to God's voice as Isaiah said in Isa. 50:4 and Jesus also declared Matt 11:15, “He that has ears to hear let him hear”.

Advertisement

“Then on the nostrils…” – this was to symbolise what Paul wrote in 2 Cor 2:15, “we are the aroma of Christ”.

“Afterwards on your breast…” – this was to be the “breastplate of righteousness” (Eph 6:14; 1 Thess 5:8) so we are able to stand against the “wiles of the devil” (Eph 6:11).

Then after this was done, and having been “counted worthy” to receive this anointing, they are then “called Christians” living up to the name through their new birth.

Cyril goes on to explain how this type of anointing was prefigured in the Old Testament through Moses “bathing [Aaron] in water, he anointed him … and made him High-priest”.

To them however these things happened in a figure, but to you not in a figure, but in truth; because you were truly anointed by the Holy Ghost. Christ is the beginning of your salvation

Cyril closes this lecture by encouraging his students to remain “unblemished” in this gift, pressing on in the good works of the Spirit, “for this holy thing is a spiritual safeguard of the body, and salvation of the soul”.

Subscribe to Updates
Subscribe to:

Have something to say? Leave a comment below.

Leave a comment   Like   Back to Top   Seen 73 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Order my new book today from Amazon or fortydays.co.uk

Subscribe to Blog updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS

‹ Return to Blog

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Lent 2018: The Temptations of Jesus

| 5 days ago | Lent

Lent is just around the corner, and so this year I've decided to write a short series over the next 40 days looking at the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, and the temptations he faced. I'll post a new blog each Sunday of Lent looking at each temptation, and then finish the series on Easter Sunday looking at “what did Jesus sacrifice?”. Series outline: Temptation one: Pride (1st Sunday of Lent, February 18, 2018) Temptation two: Worship and Glory (2nd Sunday of Lent, February 25, 2018) Temptation three: Testing God (3rd Sunday of Lent, March 4, 2018) Temptation four: Complatancy (4th Sunday of Lent, March 11, 2018) What did Jesus sacrifice?: Easter Sunday (5th Sunday of Lent, March 18, 2018) Stay tuned for the first installment in a few days time, and if you haven't already, don't forget to subscribe so you will be notified by email when each new post goes out!...

Former Muslim Explains the Trinity

| 09th February 2018 | Trinity

I saw this video doing the rounds on Facebook, and thought it was too good not to share here as well. Very few people tend to articulate the Trinitarian doctrine well enough to: a) still make sense, and b) not slip into heresy. Just reading the comments section on this video proves point b) quick enough, with many people giving their take on it (and usually espousing some form of Modalism). I won't make a big post on the Trinity now, but I may do one soon off the back of this one, as it's clearly still something believers (and non-believers) struggle to understand, or explain without heresy! For now though, sit back and take about 5 minutes to listen to this former Muslim explain one of the core beliefs of Christianity very well:   Some additional information: The man in the video is Nabeel Qureshi who has wrote a few books on his journey to Jesus from the Muslim faith; one of them being: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. He also has sadly died in 2017. I haven't read his books, and only just found out about him after looking up more info on this video, though his book is definitely on my wish list now....

Is there salvation for fallen angels?

| 05th February 2018 | Angels

I've seen and heard this question asked numerous times before, and I've even wondered it myself in my earlier years as a new Christian. Is there salvation for angels and can demons go back to their previous, uncorrupted state? 2 Corinthians 11:14And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. As far as scripture is concerned, Satan can pretend to be angelic for the sake of deceit, but that's about it. There's no mention of redemption for angels or demons — that's the long and short of it. So let's explore four areas of Scripture to see what we do know. #1 They have been imprisoned for judgement by God. 2 Peter 2:4For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into Tartarus and committed them to chains (or pits) of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment; This judgement is eternal for them and there appears to be no second chance; their judgement is sealed: Matthew 25:41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; #2 They have been imprisoned for judgement by the saints. Not only has God set a judgement, but we who are in Christ will have the role of actually judging the angels as well. How's that for a hefty responsibly! 1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels—to say nothing of ordinary matters? #3 Judgement is final We can also see from Revelation some more details about what this judgement entails for the devil and those who followed him: Revelation 19:20And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who […] were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. Revelation 20:10And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. #4 Salvation is for humans Salvation appears to be only something that God designed for humans, and is apparently something that makes the angels curious. 1 Peter 1:12[Salvation is the] good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look! Christ came as the "second Adam" (1 Cor 15:45) to rectify the problems caused by the first Adam. We humans are all "in Adam" (1 Cor 15:22), whereas angels are not. They are sometimes called "sons of God" — we are the son of Adam, therefore Jesus' sacrifice is only effective for "Adam". The writer of Hebrews sums this up for us nicely by saying, “it is clear that [Jesus] did not come to help angels”, but those in whom he shared a nature with — us! (Heb 2:14-16) Whatever sins the angels have made (other than rebelling; cf. Rev 12:4,7-9) it is not covered by the blood of Jesus as far as we know. We can infer this from what Paul teaches us about the ministry of reconciliation: 2 Corinthians 5:19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. (Emphasis mine) The plan of salvation and the power of the Gospel to reconcile God and man appears to only apply to this world and our sins (or trespasses). The Greek word here for “world” is kosmos, which can sometimes have a broader meaning of “universe” or “creation” rather than just this planet, but in this context I'm not sure it allows for that scope of reconciliation, given the other passages of scripture we've seen about the rebellious angels (or demons) level of punishment. Either way, Scripture doesn't give us any more information on this topic than that, so anything else would be speculation, but I think we can be reasonably certain that salvation through Christ is only for humans. ...

Google, Jesus and Artificial Intelligence

| 28th January 2018 | Technology

You may have seen the videos and articles being shared around social media lately about Google's new voice-activated digital assistant, Google Home, not knowing who Jesus is. Shock, horror — right? No. It's just more faux outrage and fuel for America's persecution complex. I mean, so what? Google isn't a Christian run company, they have no obligation to Christ or the Church. Why are we letting something like this bother us so much? It's just another thing in the ever growing list of things-to-be-mad-about-that-don't-really-matter on social media. Where is our faith rooted? What is the foundation and rock upon which we stand? Is it in how well a 'smart speaker' can read Wikipedia? Or what decorations Starbucks put on their cups? Or how non-Christians greet you during the holidays? No. Our faith is in Christ. If it's so easily shaken by this nonsense then maybe it ought to cause us to look a bit deeper within and see what our foundations truly are; where our 'centre of gravity' and peace is. Because if all of these external factors shake you so much, your foundation probably isn't as securely in Christ as it should be. He gives us "peace ... which surpasses all understanding" (Phil 4:7) — a peace that isn't the same as what is in the World (Jn 14:27). Therefore the World shouldn't be able to unsettle us with such peripheral things. In as close as a comparison as I can think of, look at what Paul said to the Corinthians when they worried about meat and idols from their local markets: if you faith isn't strong enough to not be bothered by such things, avoid them (I'm paraphrasing, obviously). If Google offends your conscience, don't buy their smart speaker. Simple. Paul didn't tell them to go into a "holy outrage" about it. Why? Because these things really should have no effect on us or our faith. Just move along. Concern yourselves with the real cause for outrage, like injustice and poverty and actual persecution of our fellow brothers and sisters who,  in many countries around the world, are "accounted as sheep to be slaughtered" (Rom 8:36). Isaiah 1:17learn to do good;seek justice,rescue the oppressed,defend the orphan,plead for the widow. (cf. James 1:27) It is violations of these things that should outrage us. Not how well AI can read webpages. A little perspective goes a long way. ...