by Trent Dee Stephens, PhD, for the Come Follow Me lesson September 12-18; Isaiah 13–14; 24–30; 35
I am writing this week's blog sitting in the Hotel Arnika, in Oberammergau, Germany, early Sunday Morning, September 11th 2022. It is still late Saturday night back home. Kathleen and I, along with our oldest daughter, Summer, just came back to the hotel a few hours ago from watching the Passion Play depicting the last week in the life of Jesus. The play lasted five and one half hours, with a three-hour intermission
Coming to the Oberammergau Passion Play has been on my bucket list for the past sixty years, ever since Mrs. Sears told our speech and drama class back at Raft River High School that the Passion Play at Oberammergau is the oldest continually running play in the world. The next season, in 2030, will mark nearly the 400th anniversary of the play. The play began in 1634 and has been played once every ten years since then. COVID prevented the 2020 performance and this decade's play was postponed until 2022.
After waiting sixty years, the play was everything I had expected. It was a marvelous performance, with a cast and crew of around 2000, from a tiny Bavarian village of around 3500. The only thing lacking was that the resurrected Christ did not appear on the stage at the end of the play - rather the cast and choir sang about his resurrection. I think the reason the resurrected Christ did not make an appearance on stage is that the people of Oberammergau, along with most of the Christian world, do not know what the risen Christ looks like - even though He appeared to his disciples in Jerusalem many times and also appeared to his disciples on the American Continent - as a second witness to His literal resurrection.
His failure to appear at the end of the play may not matter one iota, except for that single "i" that is missing from the vocabulary of most Christians. "Iota" the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet ( Ι, ι ), and is transliterated as "i." So what difference does it make? A lot. The Greek word "homoousios" means of one substance, whereas "homoiousios" means of similar substance - the only difference being the addition of an "i" in the latter - thus only one iota of difference.
I quote here, with slight modification, from my new book, The Immortal Messiah: the Physiology of Resurrected Beings, Cedar Fort, which will be available this coming week:
"In his book, Church History, A Complete History of the Catholic Church to the Present Day, John Laux [described]... the council of Nicea, which opened 20 May 325, under the direction of the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine, and attended by 318 bishops from all over the known Christian world, Laux stated,
"'It was proposed to introduce the word homo-ousios, which means ‘of the same essence or substance.’ Eusebius of Nicomedia objected that it was a technical term not found in Scripture. But his objection was overruled: for if Scripture is interpreted in different ways, the Catholics rightly maintained, the Church must explain Scripture by a term outside it. The word homo-ousios (Latin: consubstantialis) was therefore eagerly taken up as just the word wanted; and from that moment it became the watchword of the Catholics in their struggle against Arianism. Constantine himself advised its insertion in the Creed.'"
How could the players at Oberammergau show the resurrected Christ when He is exactly the same substance, homoousios, as the Father - and whose image modern Christians seem to not comprehend? My new book, The Immortal Messiah: the Physiology of Resurrected Beings, begins where the Passion Play at Oberammergau ends - with the resurrected Christ appearing to His disciples in the closed room and eating before them (Luke 24:36-43).
I testify that Christ is homoiousios with the Father, as are we all. I testify that, as Isaiah prophesied (esp. Chapter 26) that as Jesus Christ was resurrected, so shall all of God's children, every one of us, be resurrected, for "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead." (Isaiah 26:19)
Trent Dee Stephens, PhD