God on earth, the original!: an essay
The mosaic featured fish and geometric designs. "Fish" (Ichthys in Greek) like on a licence plate or a sticker on his car. (I[esous] Ch[ristos] Th[eou] Y[ios] S[oter]. This was a secret code and communication at the time that believers in Jesus were persecuted by the Roman authorities, shortly before and then after the time of our prayer house, and it meant, when you put all the letters of the "fish" sign together - "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Savior".
Where we were, right in the middle of Israel's terrorist and criminal housing Megiddo (Armeggedon) prison, was the recently uncovered ancient Jewish village of Talmudic times and earlier, of Otnay, known as Kfar Otnay = the village of Othnay. We were standing at the edge of the mosaic of the perhaps earliest known church building, proper. But at the time this "church room" was used, the time of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the time that Christianity was not the recognized religion of the Empire, and at times persecuted, at times tolerated, and the time, that according to Roman Law and societies viewpoint, "Christianity" was but a sect within Judaism, at this time, Roman soldiers from two of their legions, the Second Traiana and the Sixth Ferrata, were stationed at this place. Some of these soldiers believed in Jesus and worshipped in the house church. Not only they, but a centurian, their commander, just like the centurian in the Book of Acts of the new Testament who loved the Jewish people and contributed to their synagogue, so this centurian contributed to the prayer house. It's all on the Mosaic! But not to forget the practical matters of the community, the prayer house also had a bakery and the bakers were Roman soldiers. We know this, because, just like good artists, they proudly inscribed their names on their bread! Not only that, there was a bread stamp so you didn't have to squeeze the bread to know which was the best. It told you. One stamp said "PRIM" = prime = the best!
Let's not think that this was a homogeneous "Bible Belt community" insulated from the world and surrounded by like-minded fellows. Quite the contrary. This community of believers, lived just under the hill on which were deployed two encampments of Roman soldiers, and within the Jewish Village of Othnay were also Samaritans, who perhaps used the same now excavated ritual pools or "mikvahs". Jews and Samaritans together, apparently at peace, and with the Roman occupying army. Life goes on!
But of great interest is the inscription within the prayer house on the mosaic. It was by the altar of the Eucharist and it tells us that the altar was paid for by a woman named Akeptous. The inscription reads, “The God-loving Akeptous has offered the table to God Jesus Christ as a memorial.” So, yes, Jesus is called God, before the time of Constantine, and no wonder, as that is clearly what He is according to the first century New Testament - God come down in flesh to show us what it was all about and to give His loving self taking upon Himself all our sins and grief.
Clearly from the New Testament, Jesus, the Son of God, can only be considered as God come down in flesh. But many have said that this is a pagan "injection" into the original Jewish Christianity. And this community of mixed believers in the Church in the valley of Armeggedon mirrors that injection. But what if it were shown that Jesus was shown to be the Son of God and God the Son, from non mixed, non pagan sources, from Jewish Christian sources prior to the Gentile influx? What if it were shown to be, aside from the New Testament, that Jews of the first century believed that the uncreated and eternal Son of God experienced an enfleshment, became a man? was born of a Virgin who had been "impregnated" not by a man, but by the Holy Spirit Himself, and then began His way on earth - as the New testament Gospels tell us? What if the pictures from the Israeli Megiddo prison mixed community of Jews, Samaritans, and Roman soldiers of the 2nd and 3rd century and those of the Jewish Aramaic speaking Christian Community of the 1st century Tigris and Euphrates stretch are identical? For evidence of this, see - First Century Aramaic Jewish Christian Gospel and poetry, and The Sign of the Cross: a Jewish invention/ Essay