The doors! The doors! In wisdom, let us attend!
In the early days of the church when the priest said: The doors! The doors! This was a literal call to the door keepers to close them and not allow any unbaptized people in. These people were not allowed to be present to hear the reciting of the creed or be present for the consecration.
The priest is asking us to proclaim our faith and all that we believe in:
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come nought: 1 Cor. 2:6
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory; 1 Cor. 2:7
History of the Creed
The Nicene Creed was written at the first two Ecumenical Councils. At the first council in 325 A.D. held at Nicaea, the first seven articles were written. At the second council in 381 A.D. at Constantinople the last five articles were written for a total of 12 articles.
The need for a short summary of the Christian faith and a way to prevent false teachings were the two main reasons the Nicene Creed was written. The Nicene Creed is the whole church expressing their faith with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Orthodox Church has recited the Nicene Creed in its original form since it was written. The First Ecumenical Council had forbidden any changes to be made to the Creed unless another Ecumenical Council made such an order. However, the Roman Catholic Church changed the eighth article by adding ‘and from the Son’. This four word insertion became known as “the filioque’ and has caused a lot of friction between the Eastern and Western Churches. The Orthodox Church has kept the original form of the Creed because Jesus himself said:
But when the Comforter is come; whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, (not and the Son), which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: John 15:26
Orthodoxy teaches what the Bible teaches: Christ sends the Spirit, but the Spirit proceeds from the Father.
Article 1: I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
The first article speaks of the first person of the Holy Trinity, God the Father. Orthodox Christians believe in one true God who created all things. We call God the Father because He is the Father of Jesus Christ and He created us.
Article 2: And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of light; true God of true God; begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made;
We are speaking of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Jesus is one with God and eternal. Just as the Father is True God, so is the Son True God. Jesus is of one and the same substance with God the Father and has the same Divine nature.
Article 3: who far us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.
Jesus came from heaven to save mankind from sin. God has always been invisible in heaven and earth. He became visible by taking human form, except for sin, without ceasing to be God. He was incarnated by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.
Article 4: And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried.
Jesus suffered and died as man, by His own good will for our sins. Since Jesus had flesh and soul of man, He did suffer all the pain of a death on the cross. Pontius Plate was the Roman governor of Judea and conducted the trail of Jesus. He did not want to cru¬cify Jesus because Pilate did not feel Jesus did any wrong, but because of the insistence of the Jewish priests, Pontius Pilate gave in and ordered that Jesus be crucified.
Article 5: And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures,
By the power of His Divinity, Jesus Christ rose from the grave, obtained victory over death and made it possible to all faithful believers to receive resurrection and eternal life. In the Scriptures, the prophets told how Jesus would be born, live on earth, suffer, die and rise from the dead. After the death of Christ and His resurrection, Christ appeared ten more times. The last time was forty days after His resurrection.
Article 6: and ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father;
His ascension was witnessed by all His faithful Disciples. It took place on the Mount of Olives forty days after His Resurrection. Christ’s ascension was with His human body. Seating at the right hand of God signifies that Christ has one and the same power, honor and glory with God the Father.
Article 7: and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end.
Christ will again come from heaven to earth to judge all. No one knows when, but Christ will reign eternally over the righteous.
Article 8: And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
Here we recognize the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and Son and should be worshipped and glorified just as God the Father and God the Son are. This was indicated by Christ Himself when He commanded to be baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets as in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostles. Their writings were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Article 9: In one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
The church is one because it has one head, Christ. It is Holy because it is sancti¬fied by the doctrines and Passions of Christ. Catholic means universal and the church in¬cludes all the Orthodox (means true) be¬lievers of all lands. Apostolic because the church spread throughout the world by the teachings of the Apostles, then by priests and bishops.
Article 10: I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.
The Sacrament of Baptism is a holy act which the Grace of the Holy Spirit is given.
Article 11: I look for the resurrection of the dead,
All the dead will rise at the end of the world and become immortal. Christ will come and judge all (living and dead).
Article 12: and the life of the world to come. Amen.
When Christ returns to judge the living and the dead, there shall be eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven for those who have repented, and a life of torment to those who have not.