Greetings to all!
I’ve been doing some research and some writing and in the process of “googling around” chanced upon this thread and felt it somewhat important to throw my two cents in the mix for your consideration.
One of the very best books that I know of to have been written on this subject was a book entitled THE CHURCH AND THE JEWS: THE BIBLICAL RELATIONSHIP by Dan Gruber.
As I recall, according to Gruber, the Counsel of Nicea was convened by Constantine to yes, consolidate the Church under his Governorship but also as a reaction to the Jewish Community. Not too much earlier, the Roman Empire had quashed the bloody Jewish Bar Kochba rebellion. During that time, the Jewish Christians ended their participation in the rebellion because the Rabbi Akiba had declared Simon Bar Kochba to be the Messiah, and the menim (Jewish Christians) knew otherwise. Nevertheless, the Bar Kochba Rebellion created a Roman disdain for the Jews.
Hence many of the decisions made at the Counsel of Nicea were a reaction to the Bar Kochba Rebellion. 1. No Jewish Christians were represented. 2. It was decided that Easter should replace Passover. 3. It was decided that Sunday should be called “the Lord’s day” and replace the Saturday Sabbath. These decrees were made in order that Constantine could state that what was now the official STATE religion would have no identity with “those nefarious Jews”.
The Counsel of Nicea was welcomed by the Church because it legitimized Christianity and put an end to persecution of the Church.
It also did much to change the Church. The kingdom of God became easily mistaken for Rome and, in essence, it came to be perceived as emanating from Rome. Hence, the result was a Post Millenial theology… i.e., the Church as an agent of the Empire, was the agent that would bring about the millenium. The Jewish Pre-millenial perspective was rejected because History no longer seemed to corroborate that.
Modern history, I believe, has encouraged a revival of premillenialism along with the notion that the Kingdom of God does and will, indeed, emanate from Jerusalem. Furthermore, there is, indeed, one “Catholic” church. It emanates from Jerusalem and the head of that Church is, in fact, Jesus… Messiah of the Jews who was proclaimed to be a “light unto the Gentiles”.