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The conspiracy of Ignatius of Antioch

Beit HaDerekh

The conspiracy of Ignatius of Antioch

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Many people were led to believe that Constantine was solely responsible for the corruption and paganization of Christianity. Constantine certainly collaborated with the apostasy of early Christianity, but he was not the first. Indeed, before him was Ignatius of Antioch, who rebelled against the Council of Jerusalem, usurped his authority, separated himself from Judaism, declared that the Torah was abolished, replaced the Seventh-day Sabbath by Sunday worship, and founded a new religion non-Jewish faith he called “Christianity.Ignatius is thought to have been a disciple of the apostle John. According to Eusebius of Caesarea, Ignatius was the second bishop of Antioch, succeeding Evodius (“Ecclesiastical History”, book 3, chapter 22). For unknown reasons, Ignatius was arrested in 107 AD, and sent to Rome for martyrdom. Defending the authority of the church, he was the first to write the phrase “catholic church”, in use to the present.  


Paul told the Ephesians on his last visit to them:
Behold therefore for yourselves, and for all the flock, whereunto the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops, to feed the church of God, which he hath redeemed with his own blood. For I know that, after my departure, cruel wolves will come among you, who will not spare the flock; And from among you shall arise men who speak perverse things, to draw the disciples after them. Acts 20: 28-30

Paul seems to indicate that, after his death, the leaders would begin to stand in their place and make people move away from the Torah.

In fact, that’s what happened. Paul died in 66 AD, and the first superintendent of Antioch to assume office (32 years after his death) was Ignatius in 98 AD. Ignatius did exactly what Paul foresaw, misrepresented the teachings for his own benefit. After taking the position of Bishop on Antioch, Ignatius sent a series of epistles to other assemblies. His letters to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Thallians, Romans, Philadelphians, and Esmirneus, as well as a personal letter to the Supervisor of Polycarp of Smyrna, survived us to this day.

The ancient Nazarene historian and commentator Hegesippus (AD 180) writes about the time immediately after the death of Shimon, who succeeded Ya’akov HaTzadik as Nassi (“President”) of the Sanhedrin Nazarene, and who died in 98 AD:

“Until this period (AD 98) the assembly remained a pure and uncorrupted virgin, for if there were people willing to adulterate the proclamation of salvation, they still lurked in obscure places.” But when the Holy Emissaries died, that generation of men who directly heard the inspired Wisdom with their own ears died, then the confederation of evil arose through the betrayal of false teachers who, seeing that none of the emissaries were alive, finally brazenly tried to misrepresent and oppose the proclamation of the truth proclaimed.
(Hegesippus, the Nazarene, c. 185 AD), quoted by Eusebius in Eccl. Hist. 3:32)

Hegisippus indicates that the apostasy began in the same year that Ignatius became bishop of Antioch!

Until the time of Ignatius, matters of dispute which arose at Antioch were ultimately directed to the Council of Jerusalem (as in Acts 14: 26-15: 2). Ignatius usurped the authority of the
council of Jerusalem, declaring himself as the local bishop as the final authority over the assembly of which he was bishop, and declaring the same over all other bishops and their local assemblies. Ignatius writes:

By exalting the power of the bishop (supervisory) office and demanding the absolute authority of the bishop over the assembly, Ignatius was actually gaining power, thereby taking absolute authority over the assembly at Antioch and encouraging other pagan bishops (supervisors) to do the same .

In addition, Ignatius removed men from the Torah and declared that the Torah was abolished, not only in Antioch, but in other assemblies of the Gentiles, to which he wrote:

“Make no mistake about strange doctrines, or old fables that are not profitable.
For if we continue to live according to Jewish law, we confess that we have not received grace “(Letter of Ignatius to Mag. 3: 1).

“But if anyone preaches the Jewish law to you, do not listen to him.”
(Phil 2: 6)

It is also Ignatius who first replaces the seventh-day Sabbath with Sunday worship, writing:

“… no longer observing Sabbaths, but keeping the day of the Lord in which our life is also created by him, and through his death …” (Magnesians 3: 3)

Having separated from the authority of Jerusalem, declared the Torah abolished and replacing the Sabbath by Sunday, Ignatius created a new religion. Ignatius imports a new term, never before used, for this new religion which he calls “Christianity” and which he makes clear is the new and distinct religion of Judaism. He writes: “let us learn to live according to the rules of Christianity, to those who are called by any other name, besides, Judaism is not of God …”
It is absurd to quote Jesus Christ and Judaize. For the Christian religion did not embrace the Jews.
But the Jew embraced the Christian … (Mag. 3: 8, 11)


  • Ignatius of Antioch, at the end of the first century, acted just as Paul warned, that some would act like wolves in sheepskin.
  • Ignatius separated from Judaism and founded a new religion which he called “Christianity.” A religion that rejected the Torah, and replaced the seventh-day Sabbath, by Sunday worship.
  • Ignatius usurped from a position by being placed as an intermediary between man and God.